DOI: 10.1002/jeq2.20533 ISSN: 0047-2425

Ammonia and greenhouse gas emissions from beef feedlot surface material treated with aluminum sulfate (Alum) or microbial amendments

Mindy J. Spiehs, Bryan L. Woodbury
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Pollution
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Environmental Engineering


A lab‐scale study evaluated ammonia (NH3) and greenhouse gases (GHG), emissions when aluminum sulfate (alum) or a microbial product were added to beef feedlot surface material (FSM). Three kg of FSM and 1.5 kg of water were added to stainless steel pans (50 cm x 30 cm x 6.5 cm). Treatments included a control (no amendment), 450 g alum, or 0.5 g microbial product. The pans were placed in an environmental chamber that was maintained at 23 ˚C and 50–60% humidity. Emissions were measured three times weekly for three weeks. Ammonia, N2O, and CH4 were lower (p < 0.01) from pans with amendments compared to the control pans; emissions from the FSM that received the microbial treatment was lower than the FSM treated with alum. Methane emissions were similar for the control and alum‐treated FSM but lower (p < 0.01) for the FSM that was treated with the microbial product. Nitrate‐N was lower and NH4+‐N and total sulfur concentrations were higher in FSM treated with alum compared to no treatment or the microbial treatment (p < 0.01). Results indicate that both alum and microbial amendments have benefits in reducing emissions from the feedlot surface, with the microbial product providing additional reductions in emissions compared to the alum.

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