Thermophilic anaerobic digestion of livestock waste: the effect of ammonia

Abstract

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.

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Correspondence to: B. K. Ahring

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Angelidaki, I., Ahring, B.K. Thermophilic anaerobic digestion of livestock waste: the effect of ammonia. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 38, 560–564 (1993). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00242955

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Keywords

  • Methane
  • Manure
  • Specific Growth
  • Specific Growth Rate
  • Anaerobic Digestion