Aeration serves three interdependent functions of composting. Aeration adds stoichiometric oxygen for respiration, removes water vapor, and dissipates heat. Finstein and Hogan (1993) note that heat removal determines the rate of aeration and stress that this removal is important for process control. For proper pathogen removal, the temperature must reach at least 55°C. However, allowing a composting system to reach temperatures of 70 to 80°C is self-limiting, results in poor operation, and leads to the production of unstable compost.
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