Reducing Odor On Hog Farms With Biofilters

MU researcher looking to reduce odor on hog farms with biofilters with different materials.

Published on: Feb 6, 2014

Pork brings us the wonderful aromas of bacon frying, pork chops grilling and ham baking. However, the odor from a hog house is less pleasant.

A University of Missouri Extension assistant professor of agricultural systems management is researching ways to reduce that odor. Through funding from the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, Teng Lim is working with biofilters to reduce the odor, dust and gas emissions from typical swine operations.

Lim has evaluated small-scale biofilters at commercial hog farms and concluded that these biofilters could be scaled up to reduce emissions from larger hog operations.

Biofilter materials
"We are trying to evaluate different potential media to improve the biofilters," Lim says. He is looking at materials within the biofilters at the MU Swine Research Center in Columbia. Wood chips are the main type of media used in the filters, although he is also using a puffed plastic material.

BENEFITS OF BIOFILTERS: MU Extension assistant professor Teng Lim and graduate assistant Brandon Harvey study the material inside a biofilter at the MU Swine Research Center. The biofilters reduce hog odors. Credit: Photo by Jason Vance, MU Extension
BENEFITS OF BIOFILTERS: MU Extension assistant professor Teng Lim and graduate assistant Brandon Harvey study the material inside a biofilter at the MU Swine Research Center. The biofilters reduce hog odors. Credit: Photo by Jason Vance, MU Extension

The biofilters at the MU hog facility have windows to observe the materials inside and are raised off the ground to keep them away from rodents. The rooms in the research barn all have individual ventilation control systems and can be monitored over the Internet. The system uploads all the data to a server and sends a daily email with data from the previous 24 hours.

WOODCHIPS REDUCE ODOR: Teng Lim is researching biofilters using materials such as wood chips to reduce hog odors. Credit: Photo by Jason Vance, MU Extension
WOODCHIPS REDUCE ODOR: Teng Lim is researching biofilters using materials such as wood chips to reduce hog odors. Credit: Photo by Jason Vance, MU Extension

Lim says the data lets the researchers evaluate whether the pigs are comfortable and monitor temperature fluctuation, humidity and pressure to make sure the whole system is working.