Author(s): Peltre C, Dignac MF, Derenne S, Houot S
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Abstract Van Soest fractionation is widely employed to characterize exogenous organic matter. The soluble fraction of Van Soest fractionation (SOL, extracted using hot water and then neutral detergent) often increases in line with compost maturity, although it is generally considered as labile. We have developed an alternative extraction method that comprises four successive steps (extraction using hot water, sodium tetraborate, dichloromethane/methanol and chelating resin) in order to clarify the chemical nature of the SOL fraction and explain its biodegradability. This method was tested on municipal solid waste compost sampled during the thermophilic phase (MSWi) and after 8 months of composting (MSWm). Both methods extracted similar proportions of organic matter. The composition of the residues was similar in MSWm although differences were noted for the extraction of polysaccharides and lipids in the case of MSWi. The hot water extractable fraction decreased during composting. Its high biodegradability in MSWi was linked to the high polysaccharide content revealed by pyrolysis-GC/MS and FTIR spectroscopy. The increase in the sodium tetraborate extractable fraction mainly explained the increase in the SOL fraction during composting. This was made up of N-containing compounds, polysaccharides and lipids in the immature compost, and a majority of N-containing compounds in the mature compost. During composting, the stabilization of organic matter in the SOL fraction extractable by sodium tetraborate and EDTA might principally involve N-containing structures through the formation of complexes of organic matter with metal ions, especially Ca(2+), which may be broken down during extraction of the Van Soest soluble fraction. These mechanisms still need to be investigated. Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
This article was published in Waste Manag
and referenced in Journal of Environmental & Analytical Toxicology