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Microbial additives in the composting process

Aditivos microbianos no processo de compostagem


Composting is the process of natural degradation of organic matter carried out by environmental microorganisms whose metabolic activities cause the mineralization and partial humification of substances in the pile. This compost can be beneficially applied to the soil as organic fertilizer in horticulture and agriculture. The number of studies involving microbial inoculants has been growing, and they aim to improve processes such as composting. However, the behavior of these inoculants and other microorganisms during the composting process have not yet been described. In this context, this work aimed to investigate the effects of using a microbial inoculum that can improve the composting process and to follow the bacterial population dynamics throughout the process using the high-resolution melt (HRM) technique. To do so, we analysed four compost piles inoculated with Bacillus cereus, Bacillus megaterium, B. cereus + B. megaterium and a control with no inoculum. The analyses were carried out using samples collected at different stages of the process (5th to 110th days). The results showed that the bacterial inocula influenced the process of composting, altering the breakdown of cellulose and hemicelluloses and causing alterations to the temperature and nitrogen levels throughout the composting process. The use of a universal primer (rDNA 16S) allowed to follow the microbial succession during the process. However, the design of a specific primer is necessary to follow the inoculum throughout the composting process with more accuracy.

Index terms:
High Resolution Melt (HRM); bacteria; microbial ecology.

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