In natural ecosystems the transformation of the organic matter contained in the plant and animal residues it is carried out by the microorganisms that live in the soil, such as bacteria , fungi , algae and protozoa . What we define ‘Compost’ in the natural environment it can be associated to the ‘Humus’. It is the most important stock of nourishment for the plants thanks to its ability to release slowly, but steadily, nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. The humic substances, in fact , confer to the soil important physico-chemical properties that contribute to the characterization of a fertile environment . Finally compost represents the result of decomposition and humification of organic matter due to the microbial component naturally present in the environment.
The industrial composting is a technique through which the natural process of decomposition and humification is controlled, accelerated and enhanced due to the mechanical and microbial degradation. The process can be divided schematically into two phases: a phase of bio-oxidation, in which the sanitation of the organic matter happens through high temperatures: this is the active phase, characterized by intense processes of degradation of organic components more readily degradable. Then a maturing phase, during which the product stabilizes and comes enriched with humic molecules; it is the phase characterized by the processes of transformation of the organic substance whose maximum expression is the formation of humic substances. Transforming organic residual matter into compost can be one of the ways to contribute significantly to the sustainable use of resources. The use of compost as fertilizer on the land, in addition to preserve fertility, allows to reduce the use of polluting chemicals. As for all soil improvers, the use of compost has the function of improving the quality of the soil, allowing to maintain the soil fertility in the long term. The use of compost is fully part of the strategies to combat desertification and the greenhouse effect.
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