Date Full Report Received


Date Abstract Report Received



Primary Investigator:
Co-Investigators: Robert von Bernuth, Susan Hengemuehle

Hazardous gas emissions from stored livestock manure can pose environmental and health issues for both farm workers and animals. Ammonia and hydrogen sulfide emissions have risen sharply with more intensive livestock production and are especially being targeted as gases of concern. Numerous management strategies, technologies and chemicals have been tried to reduce the production of these gases. However, nothing really seems to work well, or they are either too toxic to animals, not cost effective, or not environmentally sustainable. Borates have long been used in a number of commercial products for cleaning and controlling odors. With support from NPB, previous studies in our laboratory showed that boric acid and borax are highly effective in inhibiting both ammonia and hydrogen sulfide emissions from stored swine manure slurry. The objective of this continuing research project was to test the efficacy of boron (20 Mule Team Borax) in reducing ammonia and hydrogen sulfide emissions in a normal operating swine facility. Shallow, pull plug manure storage pits beneath nursery rooms at the Michigan State University Swine Teaching and Research Facility were treated with borax powder, and the air quality in the rooms were monitored for ammonia and hydrogen sulfide emissions over 4-5 weeks. There was a significant reduction in hydrogen sulfide emissions, amounting to about 80% of the control with borax treatment. This is the first demonstration that boron can suppress hydrogen sulfide production. In contrast, ammonia emissions from the shallow manure pits treated with borax were not different from the control, so the inhibition of ammonia by borax in the laboratory was not confirmed. Further studies are being planned to investigate this difference in response. This research was supported by the National Pork Checkoff.