Different cultivation methods to acclimatise ammonia-tolerant methanogenic consortia

Hailin Tian, Ioannis Fotidis, Enrico Mancini, Irini Angelidaki

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Bioaugmentation with ammonia tolerant-methanogenic consortia was proposed as a solution to overcome ammonia inhibition during anaerobic digestion process recently. However, appropriate technology to generate ammonia tolerant methanogenic consortia is still lacking. In this study, three basic reactors (i.e. batch, fed-batch and continuous stirred-tank reactors (CSTR)) operated at mesophilic (37°C) and thermophilic (55°C) conditions were assessed, based on methane production efficiency, incubation time, TAN/FAN (total ammonium nitrogen/free ammonia nitrogen) levels and maximum methanogenic activity. Overall, fed-batch cultivation was clearly the most efficient method compared to batch and CSTR. Specifically, by saving incubation time up to 150%, fed-batch reactors were acclimatised to nearly 2-fold higher FAN levels with a 37%-153% methanogenic activity improvement, compared to batch method. Meanwhile, CSTR reactors were inhibited at lower ammonia levels. Finally, specific methanogenic activity test showed that hydrogenotrophic methanogens were more active than aceticlastic methanogens in all FAN levels above 540 mg NH3-N L-1.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBioresource Technology
Pages (from-to)1-9
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Batch reactor
  • Ded-batch reactor
  • CSTR
  • Specific methanogenic activity
  • Incubation time


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