Composting process as a means of bioremediating the harmful waste can be assessed in terms of its hygienic aspect since the effect of its quality is indicative of its essentiality and feasibility in the environment. Hygienic relevance of composting is primarily related to the microbes functioning as composters, the dust aerosols in the ambient air of the compost pile, and the type, concentration and state of the waste to be degraded. In terms of its hygienic feature, the compost may pose threat to human health as it generates immune response in living systems possibly triggered by leftover microbes, dust and target compounds to be treated in the compost matter. Although many of the toxins and pathogens are diminished to a great number, the presence of pathogens in the compost might be able to contaminate the food chain as plants get into contact with it. Composting is an acknowledged pathogen reducing technique, but certainly not an eradication system. Also the management of the process and heterogeneous pile conditions in compost may pose particular challenge concerning the biosafety of this process. Composting has been successfully adopted but enough biological research is lacking on the biosecurity of this process. Accordingly regarding the microbial profile of the compost, the experimental studies and characterization of microbes with respect to hygienic relevance by various scientists are discussed and reviewed as under.
Composting is the process of biodegrading the waste material in which an enormous number of materials like hydrocarbons, nitrogenous compounds, acids, their derivatives and even other organic and inorganic substances can be remediated from the environment (Finstein et al., 1986). Compost process is marked by a number of stages that actually are driven by the microbes that invade, feed on, survive, multiply and precede or succeed their fellow microbes. This indicates that compost supports a number and a diverse variety of microbes inside that are shown by studies to be bacteria, fungi and actinomycetes, while among the macro-organisms are insects and worms, as in vermicomposting. All of these living bodies can be infectious, toxic, chronic or acute disease-causing, or may be injurious to human health (Pella, 1997, Lemunier et al., 2005 and Zaleski et al., 2005). Therefore, the know-how of the entire microbial flora associated with the composting process is essential so that we can actually understand which of these species of microbes are safe and which are potentially harmful to the human health or even to the environmental well being.
Scientists report that especially thermophilic and spore-forming resisitant microbes can persist in the compost environment and even their spores, if spread, can promulgate inside the human body. The spores spread easily from the compost source and probable chances are their dispersion when the compost is mixed, transported, shifted or stored. Microbial content can be...