Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 38, Issue 4, pp 560–564 | Cite as

Thermophilic anaerobic digestion of livestock waste: the effect of ammonia

  • I. Angelidaki
  • B. K. Ahring
Environmental Biotechnology


Ammonia concentrations of 4 g N/l or more inhibited thermophilic digestion of cattle manure. A stable digestion of cattle manure could be maintained with ammonia concentrations up to 6 g N/l after 6 months of operation. However, the methane yield was reduced and the concentration of volatile fatty acids increased from 1 to 3 g/l as acetate, compared to controls with an ammonia concentration of 2.5 g N/l. The temporary strong inhibition following an one-step increase in ammonia concentration was reduced by applying a gradual increase. The specific methanogenic activity of ammonia-inhibited reactors (6 g N/l) with acetate or hydrogen as substrate was reduced by 73 and 52%, respectively. Tests of ammonia toxicity on the acetate- and hydrogen-utilizing populations showed a higher sensitivity of the aceticlastic compared to the hydrogenotrophic methanogens; the specific growth rate for the aceticlastic methanogens was halved at ammonia concentrations of 3.5 g N/l, compared to 7 g N/l for the hydrogenotrophic methanogens.


Methane Manure Specific Growth Specific Growth Rate Anaerobic Digestion 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • I. Angelidaki
    • 1
  • B. K. Ahring
    • 1
  1. 1.The Anaerobic Microbiology/Biotechnology Research Group, Department of BiotechnologyThe Technical University of DenmarkLyngbyDenmark

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