What are the chemicals found in Pig Manure? Like humans, pigs are monogastric animals, meaning they have a single-chambered stomach. This is in contrast to ruminants, including cows, which chew on their cud. Pig farms generate a substantial amount of manure, just as human cities do. This manure is often digested in lagoons, where bacteria tackle the dirty job of breaking it down. Consequently, its composition is important to know when monitoring environmental effects.
Diet -Pigs enjoy a more limited diet than humans do. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, pig manure tends to be relatively similar in composition from one farm to the next. Pigs typically eat meal formulated from corn or sorghum and soybeans, with various nutrients and minerals added. Among these are calcium, phosphorus, zinc, copper and selenium. The presence of these nutrients is reflected in the composition of the manure.
Minerals -According to the USDA, some 86 percent of the copper, all of the zinc, 79 percent of manganese, 40 percent of calcium, 74 percent of magnesium, 59 percent of potassium and 66 percent of the sodium consumed by a pig are present in its manure. The FDA regulates the amount of selenium added to pig food because of concerns about the environmental effects of manure containing selenium.
Nutrients -Most of the nitrogen in a pig's diet is digested, so most of the nitrogen excreted is in the form of uric acid from urine and various forms of fixed nitrogen in feces. From 40 to 60 percent of the phosphorus consumed is found in both urine and manure. In an effort to reduce the amount of phosphorus excreted, some nutritionists have suggested the use of phytase enzymes as dietary supplements; these would break down phytate in the pig's feed, making additional phosphorus available to the animal and reducing the need for supplementation.
Other Materials -Other major components of feces are materials indigestible by the pig. Cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin are all components of plant cell walls that neither animals nor humans can digest, and all three represent a major fraction of pig manure, together with proteins and other fibrous material. The pH or acidity of pig manure ranges from 7.2 to 8.3. Both aerobic (with oxygen) and anaerobic (without oxygen) processes contribute to the breakdown of these compounds, releasing byproducts like carbon dioxide, nitrates, nitrites, sulfates, methane, ammonia and hydrogen sulfide.