This article is from the Extension Connection newsletter, Summer 2006.
Manure isn’t an “end product,” says Jacek Koziel, an Iowa State University assistant professor currently researching the makeup of, and odor-causing agents in, manure. Rather, it’s the beginning.
“Manure is a biological compound, constantly changing. It actually is the beginning of many biological worlds. It’s the biological nature of manure that makes it and the troublesome odor it produces a real challenge for researchers to study,” Koziel said.
“It is difficult to make manure behave in controlled experiments because no two samples are alike,” added Koziel, whose specialty is air quality engineering and livestock odor. Last year, the lab’s research found that fine dust from swine units was a significant carrier of odor. This research led to the development of biofilters that trap gases and dust particles, thus reducing odor from animal units.
Manure additives also are being researched with a variety of methods. “Using chemical analysis of gases and sensory evaluation we can control exchange rates,” Koziel said. “Essentially we use human noses to test odor.”