Suggest 1 way in which a scientist can sterilize compost.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

An effective method of sterilizing compost (soil) is to use heat.  I am not sure what tools the scientist in question has available, so I will describe three methods.  

First method: Use steam.  This could be done with a pressure cooker or without.  Basically, you are putting shallow pans...

Unlock
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

An effective method of sterilizing compost (soil) is to use heat.  I am not sure what tools the scientist in question has available, so I will describe three methods.  

First method: Use steam.  This could be done with a pressure cooker or without.  Basically, you are putting shallow pans of soil (no more than 4 inches deep) into a pot of water that you plan on boiling.  The pan of soil should be located above the water (not in the water).  Cover the soil pans with aluminum foil.  Begin heating water container with the lid open just enough to vent the steam so pressure doesn't build up.  Once steam is exiting, continue for 30 minutes.  Leave foil on until ready to use the soil. 

Method 2: Use an oven. Place soil in oven safe pan/container.  Make sure soil is less than 4 inches deep.  Start baking soil with oven temp around 200 degrees.  Bake until soil temp reaches 180 degrees.  Use a meat thermometer.  Remove, let cool, and keep covered.  

Method 3.  Use a microwave. Place soil in a microwave safe container that has a lid.  Poke a few holes in the lid for venting.  Microwave on high for 90 seconds per every 2 pounds of soil.  Remove from microwave, let cool, and tape over holes to keep sterile.   

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team