Trends in Agricultural Waste Utilizatili-zation

  • Han, Youn-Woo (Department of Microbiology Seoul National University)
  • Published : 1979.04.01


Each year, vast amount of agricultural crop residues are produced (about 60 percent of the total crop production), which have not been effectively utilized because they are bulky and lignocellulosic, thus having little fuel energy per unit volume. Using treated plant residues as animal feeds could result in an ultimate saving of fossil fuel energy and a more effective utilizat ion of products created by the photosynthetic process. Feeding the residues to animals would decrease the pollution potential, but these residues are difficult for even a ruminant animal to digest. If cellulosic wastes produced from cereal grain straw and wood could be digested, land now used for producing forage add grain cnuld be shifted to food crops for humans. During the past decade, considerable efforts were made to utilize crop residues. These utilization methods can be broadly grouped into for categories: (1) direct uses, (2) mechanical conversions, (3) chemical conversions and (4) biological conversions. Agricultural crop residues consist mainly of cellulose, hemicellulose, lignin, pectin, andother plant carbohydrates. The nature of the constituents of these residues can be best utilized as one of the five FS: Fuel, Fiber, Fertilizer, Feed and Food. Many processes have teen proposed and some are in industrial production stage. However, economics of the process depend on the location where availability of other competitive products are different.