Quantification of volatile fatty acids from cattle manure via non-catalytic esterification for odour indication

Sang Ryong Lee, Jechan Lee, Seong Heon Cho, Jieun Kim, Jeong Ik Oh, Daniel C.W. Tsang, Kwang Hwa Jeong, Eilhann E. Kwon

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


This report proposes a new approach to evaluate the odour nuisance of cattle manure samples from three different cattle breeds (i.e., native cattle, beef cattle, and milk cow) by means of quantification and speciation of volatile fatty acids (VFAs). To this end, non-catalytic esterification thermally induced in the presence of a porous material (silica) was undertaken, and the optimal operational parameters such as the derivatizing temperature (330 °C) for the maximum yield (≥ 99 ± 0.4%) of volatile fatty acid methyl esters (VFAMEs) were established. Among the VFA species in cattle manure based on quantification of VFAs, the major species were acetic, butyric and valeric acid. Considering the odour threshold of each VFA, our experimental results suggested that the major contributors to odour nuisance were C4–5VFA species (i.e., butyric and valeric acid). Hydrothermal treatment was performed at 150 °C for 0–40 min to correlate the formation of VFAs with different types of cattle feed formulations. Our experimental data demonstrated that the formation of total VFAs is linearly proportional to the hydrothermal treatment duration and the total content of VFAs in native cattle, beef cattle, and milk cow manure samples reached up to ~ 1000, ~ 3200, and ~ 2800 ppm, respectively. Thus, this study demonstrated that the degree of VFA formation is highly dependent on cattle feed formulations, which rely significantly on the protein content. Furthermore, the hydrothermal treatment provides a favourable condition for generating more VFAs. In this context, producing cattle manure into refused derived fuel (RDF) via a hydrothermal treatment is not a viable option to control odour.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)992-996
Number of pages5
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


  • cattle manure
  • Livestock manure
  • non-catalytic esterification
  • odour indicator
  • volatile fatty acids (VFAs)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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