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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: TRACE GAS EXCHANGES IN MIDWEST CROPPING SYSTEMS Title: Source chemical characterization of swine odor

Authors
item Trabue, Steven
item Sauer, Thomas
item Pfeiffer, Richard

Submitted to: Air and Waste Management Annual Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: March 10, 2010
Publication Date: June 24, 2010
Citation: Trabue, S.L., Sauer, T.J., Pfeiffer, R.L. 2010. Source chemical characterization of swine odor. Proceedings of the Air and Waste Management Annual Conference, June 21-24, 2010, Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Paper 124.

Interpretive Summary: Odors from swine production have been linked to a host of issues affecting quality of life, property values and potentially human health. Typical compounds and classes of compounds include: sulfides, thiols, acids, phenols, indoles, ammonia and amines. The wide range of compounds assoicated with swine odor require several different sampling and analysis techniques. In this study, gas phase odorants were monitored using sorbent tubes (volatile organic compounds), canisters (sulfur compounds), and acid traps (amines). Odorants assoicated with swine housing were different than those assoicated with pit fans. In terms of concentration in air, total VFAs were highest followed by reduced sulfur compounds (RSC), phenol compounds and indole compounds. In terms of odor potential or odor activity value (= conc. of odorant in air/odor threshold concentration), RSC were highest followed by total VFAs, phenols, and indole compounds. Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) was generally detected above its odor threshold value at the pit fan; however, during pumping of the deep pits its levels rose rapidly to over 100 times its previous concentration within a building and over 20 times at distances of 46 m downwind from the facility. Other RSC did not rise during pumping of the deep pits. Indole and phenol compounds were detected over a mile away downwind from the swine operation. This study shows that odor can be complex requiring several different techniques for its characterization since the nature of odor can by changed based on distance from the source and mangement practices at the facility. The research described in this report provides animal scientists, growers, engineers, air quality, and regulatory officials valuable information on the nature and characterization of odor compounds.

Technical Abstract: Odors from swine production have been linked to a host of issues affecting quality of life, property values and potentially human health. Typical compounds and classes of compounds include: sulfides, thiols, acids, phenols, indoles, ammonia and amines. The wide range of compounds assoicated with swine odor require a multiple sampling techniques for its characterization. Gas phase samples were monitored with sorbent tubes (volatile organic compounds, VOCs), canisters (reduced sulfur compounds, RSC), and denunders (amines). Samples were analyzed by either GC-MS or IC analysis. Odorants in the swine housing areas had elevated levels of VFAs and phenols, while in pit fan areas elavated levels of phenols, indoles, and sulfide compounds. In terms of concentration in air, total VFAs averaged 325 ug m-3, total phenols 62.4 ug m-3, total indoles 1.6 ug m-3, and total reduced sulfur compounds 76.7 mg m-3. If concentrations are adjusted to odor activity value (= conc. of odorant in air/odor threshold concentration) total VFAs, phenols, indoles, and reduced sulfur compounds averaged 6.8, 6.5, 5.0, and 10.3, respectively. Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) was generally detected with 1-2 OAV at the pit fan; however, during pumping of the deep pits its levels rose rapidly to over 254 OAV from the building and over 45 OAV 46 m downwind from the facility, but rapidly declined when pumping ceased. There was little to no rise in levels of the other RSC during pumping. Indole and phenol compounds were detected over 1.5 km downwind from the swine production. This study shows that odor can be complex requiring several different techniques for its characterization since the nature of odor can by both distance from the source and mangement practices at the facility.

Last Modified: 10/23/2014
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