Particulate matter emissions during field application of poultry manure - The influence of moisture content and treatment
Along with industry and transportation, agriculture is one of the main sources of primary particulate matter (PM) emissions worldwide. Bioaerosol formation and PM release during livestock manure field application and the associated threats to environmental and human health are rarely investigated. In the temperate climate zone, field fertilization with manure seasonally contributes to local PM air pollution regularly twice per year (spring and autumn). Measurements in a wind tunnel, in the field and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations were performed to analyze PM aerosolization during poultry manure application and the influence of manure moisture content and treatment. A positive correlation between manure dry matter content (DM) and PM release was observed. Therefore, treatments strongly increasing the DM of poultry manure should be avoided. However, high manure DM led to reduced microbial abundance and, therefore, to a lower risk of environmental pathogen dispersion. Considering the findings of PM and microbial measurements, the optimal poultry manure DM range for field fertilization was identified as 50–70%. Maximum PM10 concentrations of approx. 10 mg per m3 of air were measured during the spreading of dried manure (DM 80%), a concentration that is classified as strongly harmful. The modeling of PM aerosolization processes indicated a low health risk beyond a distance of 400 m from the manure application source. The detailed knowledge about PM aerosolization during manure field application was improved with this study, enabling manure management optimization for lower PM aerosolization and pathogenic release into the environment.