A majority of the beef cattle and swine in the United States is produced in confined facilities. This generates significant environmental pollutants from the waste produced, including global warming gases, odor, and pathogens. The objectives of this study were to control the fermentation activity and pathogens in cattle and swine wastes with antimicrobial plant essential oils. Anaerobic one litre flasks with a working volume of 0.5 l were used to evaluate the effect of carvacrol and thymol on production of fermentation gas, short-chain volatile fatty acids, lactate, and bacterial populations. In cattle waste, 1 g l−1 each of carvacrol and thymol completely inhibited the production of volatile fatty acids and lactate over 23 days. In swine waste, 2.5 g l−1 carvacrol inhibited the production of all volatile fatty acids. We conclude that these essential oils are effective in controlling livestock waste odor emissions and field studies are warranted.

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