Compost - Blood And Bone Meal To "Activate"?

Hi Everybody,
I have read a number of times that it is good to add a bit of blood-and-bone-meal to compost, to get it working faster. This includes various Web sites, NG posts, and packaging for said substance.
I have started adding a bit to my compost-in-progress.
However, I am wondering... What exactly is the chemical/biological mechanism here? The b-b meal is a dry powder, so I am doubtful of micro-organsms living in there. Is it just based upon giving the compost a blast of nutrients???
Thanks in advance...
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Down Under On The Bucket Farm said:

Blood meal is used to ensure enough nitrogen to get the compost cooking, especially when the bulk of your material is high in carbon, like fall leaves, straw, or paper. I suppose you can consider it as 'activating' the microorganisms that are already there. (It's also good practice to add some old compost to any freshly mixed pile to innoculate it.)
Bone meal is better used directly in the garden for plants that need a boost of calcium and phosphorous. Depending on how it was processed, it may or may not contain much nitrogen, which would be more in demand in the composting process.
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On Wed, 22 Oct 2003 23:20:58 -0700, Down Under On The Bucket

I'm a worrier. My concern would be BSE - mad cow disease. I wouldn't use it, but would find some other non-animal substance to add to my compost.
There are plenty of other substances that can be used for this purpose (manure, even small quantities of commercial fertilizer, greenstone - a natural mineral - various ground rocks, etc.)
Pat
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wrote:

Unless you are importing your bone meal from Europe, it is highly unlikely this should pose any problems. One, there has never been a substantiated case of BSE in the United States and second, the American method of processing bone meal differs from the European in that it involves both heat and solvent treatments, effectively destroying any potential pathogens.
Once again, we can thank the media for blowing things up out of proportion.
If this remains a concern, fish meal, feather meal, alfalfa meal or fresh manure will work as well. Apply any sparingly - you don't need much to get things cooking if pile is constructed carefully and aerated properly.
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On Thu, 23 Oct 2003 15:27:01 GMT, "Pam - gardengal"

There has been in Canada, though.
I have read quite a bit about BSE in the UK, and I do not believe that the consensus of opinion among authorities on the matter is that either heat or solvents kill the prions thought to be responsible for it. [This got to be kind of an awkward sentence...] In other words, it is believed that neither heat nor solvents kill prions, AFAIK.
If the authorities thought heat kills prions, believe me, the British government would have acted on it before now, and I suspect that the same is true of solvents - at least any solvents suitable for meat intended for human consumption.
I don't think there is any way known to kill prions.

I don't think so. The media has nothing to do with it.
I have never, ever seen any article on a connection between bone meal in compost and BSE: it was my own conclusion that there might be this possibility, based on the fact that meat-on-the-bone has been implicated in BSE in the UK.
Therefore, I think it's a reasonable conclusion that one might not want to spread bonemeal around one's garden or use it in compost - a conclusion that any reasonable person might make (or might not make).

Yes, that was my point, perhaps not made as well as it could have been. There are plenty of alternative substances that will work.
Pat
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snipped-for-privacy@meadows.pair.com wrote:

I agree Pat. For one thing, you can't kill what isn't alive. Prions are abnormal protein fragments, not living organisms. I'm still amazed that such a thing can cause such awful diseases. (Other animals have their own version of prion caused disease.) I just hope those diseases remain at least as uncommon as they are now. Wishful thinking.
Steve
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heat
The protection against BSE in your example is the fact that there is not yet any example of BSE having been found in the US. How the Blood and Bone is made in the US is irrelevant as there is no current treatment known to destroy the prions that cause BSE
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Fran wrote:

Just out of curiosity, what solvent is used?
I count on my compost pile to kill off an awful lot of pathogens and assorted toxins. I'll reserve judgement for now, but I rather suspect that heat and solvents and the additional bacterial action and exposure to the elements during composting are probably enough to eliminate the risk of viable prions getting onto the food to something too low to calculate ... and too low to worry about.
A hot compost pile followed by a year or two of aging may not be a panacea, but it comes mighty close.
Bill
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