Water activity of poultry litter: relationship to moisture content during a grow-out

Dunlop, Mark W., McAuley, Jim, Blackall, Patrick J. and Stuetz, Richard M. (2016) Water activity of poultry litter: relationship to moisture content during a grow-out. Journal of Environmental Management, 172 201-206. doi:10.1016/j.jenvman.2016.02.036

Author Dunlop, Mark W.
McAuley, Jim
Blackall, Patrick J.
Stuetz, Richard M.
Title Water activity of poultry litter: relationship to moisture content during a grow-out
Journal name Journal of Environmental Management   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1095-8630
Publication date 2016-05-01
Year available 2016
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.jenvman.2016.02.036
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 172
Start page 201
End page 206
Total pages 6
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher Academic Press
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Poultry grown on litter floors are in contact with their own waste products. The waste material needs to be carefully managed to reduce food safety risks and to provide conditions that are comfortable and safe for the birds. Water activity (Aw) is an important thermodynamic property that has been shown to be more closely related to microbial, chemical and physical properties of natural products than moisture content. In poultry litter, Aw is relevant for understanding microbial activity; litter handling and rheological properties; and relationships between in-shed relative humidity and litter moisture content. We measured the Aw of poultry litter collected throughout a meat chicken grow-out (from fresh pine shavings bedding material to day 52) and over a range of litter moisture content (10–60%). The Aw increased non-linearly from 0.71 to 1.0, and reached a value of 0.95 when litter moisture content was only 22–33%. Accumulation of manure during the grow-out reduced Aw for the same moisture content. These results are relevant for making decisions regarding litter re-use in multiple grow-outs as well as setting targets for litter moisture content to minimise odour, microbial risks and to ensure necessary litter physical conditions are maintained during a grow-out. Methods to predict Aw in poultry litter from moisture content are proposed.
Keyword Broiler
Meat chicken
Equilibrium relative humidity (ERH)
Wet litter
Water absorption isotherms
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: HERDC Pre-Audit
Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation
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