Water Center, The


Date of this Version



Atmospheric Environment 66 (2013) 91-100; doi:10.1016/j.atmosenv.2012.01.001


Swine manure is often applied to crop land as a fertilizer source. Odor emissions from land-applied swine manure may pose a nuisance to downwind populations if manure is not applied with sufficient forethought. A research project was conducted to assess the time decay of odorous volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions following land application of swine manure. Three land application methods were compared: surface application, incorporation 24 h after surface application, and injection. Emission rates were measured in field plots using a small wind tunnel and sorbent tubes. VOCs including eight volatile fatty acids, five aromatics, and two sulfur-containing compounds were quantified by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. In most cases, a first order exponential decay model adequately described the flux versus time relationship for the 24 h period following land application, but the model sometimes overestimated flux in the 6-24 h range. The same model but with the time term squared adequately predicted flux over the entire 24 h period. Three compounds (4-methylphenol, skatole, and 4-ethylphenol) accounted for 93 percent of the summed odor activity value. First order decay constants (k) for these three compounds ranged from 0.157 to 0.996 h-1. When compared to surface application, injection of swine manure resulted in 80e95 percent lower flux for the most odorous aromatic compounds. These results show that VOC flux decreases rapidly following land application of swine manure, declining below levels of detection and near background levels after 4 to 8 h.