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This study applied a modified OxiTop® system to determine the oxygen uptake rate during a 2-day respiration test of selected composting materials at different moisture contents, air-filled porosities and composition of composting mixtures. The modification of the OxiTop® respirometer included replacement and adjustment of a glass vessel (i.e. a 1.9-L glass vessel with wide mouth was used instead of a standard 1-L glass bottle, additionally the twist-off vessel lid was adjusted to attach the measuring head) and application of a closed steel mesh cylinder of 5 cm in diameter and 10 cm in height with the open surface area of the mesh of approximately 56.2%. This modification allowed obtaining different bulk densities (and thus air-porosities) of the investigated composting materials in laboratory composting studies. The test was performed for apple pomace and composting mixtures of apple pomace with wood chips at ratios of 1:0.5, 1:1, 1:1.5 (d.w), moisture contents of 60%, 65% and 75% and air-filled porosities ranging from 46% to 1%. Due to diverse biodegradability of the investigated apple pomace and composting mixtures this test allows for the determination of the effects of different air-porosities (due to compaction in a pile) on the oxygen uptake rate for mixtures with a fixed ratio of a bulking agent. The described method allows for laboratory determination of the effects of moisture content and compaction on biodegradation dynamics during composting.
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