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Enhancement of the biogas and biofertilizer production from Opuntia heliabravoana Scheinvar

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Waste Opuntia is an abundant source of biomass to produce biogas and biofertilizer in a small and commercial scale. This crop has a high biomass yield, wide adaptation to diverse climatic zones, rapid growth, and low input requirements. This study aimed to evaluate the combined effect of adjusting C/N ratio and an alkaline pretreatment (AP) of waste Opuntia heliabravoana Scheinvar in the production of biogas and biofertilizer in anaerobic reactors. AP bioreactors produced more biogas than the control (C, without the combined effect of AP); besides, in this process, it was not necessary to use additional water due to the high content of water that is present in the tissue of this crop. On the other hand, both biofertilizers (C and AP) had enssential microbial groups that help to enhance plant nutrition as S-reducers, S-oxidizers, amylolytic, cellulolytic bacteria, anaerobic S-mineralizers, cellulolytic fungi, and P-solubilizers. Also, the AP treatment to help to increase 1.5:1 total nitrogen (TN) concentration decreased the pathogenic microorganisms in the biofertilizer compared to the C treatment. For this reason, Opuntia spp. is a good substrate for production of biogas and biofertilizer with essential nutrients for many crops in area with water scarcity.

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Bioreactor with adjusted C/N ratio and alkaline pretreatment

BOD5 :

Biological oxygen demand, mg L−1


Control bioreactor


Chemical oxygen demand, mg L−1


Electrical conductivity, dS cm−1


Hydraulic retention time, days


Organic loading rate, kgVS∙m−3 day−1


Temperature, °C


Total nitrogen, mg L−1


Total carbon; mg L−1


Total phosphorus, mg L−1


Total solids, %


Volatile matter, %


Volatile solids, %


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We are grateful to CONACYT for granting the Ph.D. academic scholarship (610463) to Erendira Tonantzin Quintanar Orozco, and to Lucía Pérez Martínez, Delia Skarlet Pancardo Carrasco and Liliana Isabel Gamboa Magaña for technical support in this project (Academia Mexicana de la Ciencia, period 2015-2016).We are grateful to Bioceres S.A.P.I. de C.V. for the economic support for this project.

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Correspondence to Carlos Alexander Lucho-Constantino.

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Quintanar-Orozco, E.T., Vázquez-Rodríguez, G.A., Beltrán-Hernández, R.I. et al. Enhancement of the biogas and biofertilizer production from Opuntia heliabravoana Scheinvar. Environ Sci Pollut Res 25, 28403–28412 (2018).

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