Antonie van Leeuwenhoek

, Volume 69, Issue 1, pp 25–31 | Cite as

Inactivation of virus during anaerobic digestion of manure in laboratory scale biogas reactors

  • Bente Lund
  • Vibeke Frøkjær Jensen
  • Per Have
  • Birgitte Ahring


Reduction of porcine parvovirus, bovine enterovirus and faecal enterococci were measured in biogas reactors continuously run on manure and manure supplemented with household waste at 35°C and 55°C and in batch test run at 70°C. The aim of the experiments was to study the sanitation effect of anaerobic digestion and to evaluate the use of faecal enterococci as an indicator of sanitation. Parallel studies on the reduction of virus and faecal enterococci were done in physiological saline solution. Heat ínactivation was found to be an important factor in thermophilic biogas plants and the overall dominant factor at 70°C. However, other environmental factors with a substantial virucidal and bactericidal effect were involved in inactivation. The death rates for faecal enterococci were generally higher than for porcine parvovirus and lower than for bovine enterovirus. For faecal enterococci, a logarithmic reduction of 4 (corresponding to the recommended minimum guaranteed retention time) was obtained after 300 hours at 35°C and after 1–2 hours at 55°C. In continuously-fed reactors, a high reduction rate was initially seen for the virus tested, followed by a reduction in the rate. For porcine parvovirus, a minimum guaranteed retention time of 11–12 hours is necessary at 55°C in the initial phase (0–4 hours) and 54 hours hereafter (4–48 h). Correspondingly, for bovine enterovirus a MGRT of 23 hours was necessary at 35°C and < 0.5 hours at 55°C. The data indicate that faecal enterococci measurements give a good indication of inactivation of enterovirus and other more heat sensitive virus, especially under thermophilic conditions. Parvovirus is very suitable for comparative investigations on inactivation in the temperature range of 50–80°C, due to the extreme thermal resistance of this virus. However, in stipulating sanitation demands for biogas reactors it seems more reasonable to use less resistant virus, such as a reovirus or picornavirus, which better represents the pathogenic animal virus.

Key words

biogas indicator manure pathogen virus-reduction 



bovine enterovirus


colony forming unit


faecal enterococci


hydraulic retention time


minimum guaranteed retention time


not detected


porcine parvovirus


tissue cell infective dose 50 %


volatile fatty acids


volatile solids


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bente Lund
    • 1
  • Vibeke Frøkjær Jensen
    • 2
  • Per Have
    • 2
  • Birgitte Ahring
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiotechnologyDanish Technological InstituteTaastrupDenmark
  2. 2.Danisch Veterinary Institute for Virus ResearchMinistry of AgricultureKalvehaveDenmark

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