Characterization of bacterial community dynamics during the decomposition of pig carcasses in simulated soil burial and composting systems

Bo Min Ki, Yu Mi Kim, Jun Min Jeon, Hee Wook Ryu, Kyung Suk Cho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Soil burial is the most widely used disposal method for infected pig carcasses, but composting has gained attention as an alternative disposal method because pig carcasses can be decomposed rapidly and safely by composting. To understand the pig carcass decomposition process in soil burial and by composting, pilot-scale test systems that simulated soil burial and composting were designed and constructed in the field. The envelope material samples were collected using special sampling devices without disturbance, and bacterial community dynamics were analyzed by high-throughput pyrosequencing for 340 days. Based on the odor gas intensity profiles, it was estimated that the active and advanced decay stages were reached earlier by composting than by soil burial. The dominant bacterial communities in the soil were aerobic and/or facultatively anaerobic gram-negative bacteria such as Pseudomonas, Gelidibacter, Mucilaginibacter, and Brevundimonas. However, the dominant bacteria in the composting system were anaerobic, thermophilic, endospore-forming, and/or halophilic gram-positive bacteria such as Pelotomaculum, Lentibacillus, Clostridium, and Caldicoprobacter. Different dominant bacteria played important roles in the decomposition of pig carcasses in the soil and compost. This study provides useful comparative date for the degradation of pig carcasses in the soil burial and composting systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2199-2210
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Microbiology and Biotechnology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 by The Korean Society for Microbiology and Biotechnology.


  • Bacterial community dynamics
  • Composting
  • Pig carcass disposal
  • Sampling device
  • Soil burial


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