Bioavailability of Carbon and Nitrogen

Tom Richard

Carbon-to-nitrogen ratios may need to be adjusted depending on the bioavailability of these elements. This is commonly an issue with high carbon materials, which are often derived from wood and other lignified plant materials, as increased lignin content reduces biodegradability. Particle size is also an important factor, with smaller particles degrading more quickly than large particles of the same material. Bioavailability can also be a factor with nitrogen sources, especially fertilizer nitrogen, where nearly instant availability can exceed the assimilative capacity of the microbial community and be lost as ammonia odors and nitrate in leachate.


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