Enhanced methane productivity from manure fibers by aqueous ammonia soaking pretreatment

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The necessity of increasing the methane productivity of manure based biogas plants has triggered the application of anaerobic digestion to the separated solid fraction of manure, with the challenge that its high lignocellulosic fibers content is difficult to digest and thus makes anaerobic digestion process slow and economically unfavourable. In the present study, aqueous ammonia soaking (AAS) was investigated as a pretreatment method to increase methane potential of swine manure fibers. 3 days at 22 C were the optimal conditions among the ones tested (1, 3, and 5 days at 22 and 55 C) for increasing the methane potential of manure fibers. AAS pretreatment exhibited a significant effect on methane production rate and potential. It was found that AAS for 3 days at 22 C resulted at a 30–80% and 178% increase in methane yield from digested and raw manure fibers, respectively. Batch anaerobic digestion of AAS-treated digested manure fibers could stand loadings as high as 100 g TS/l inoculum with no inhibition problems. Enzymatic hydrolysis tests applied to AAS-pretreated fibers resulted to 80% and 65% hydrolysis efficiency of glucan and xylan compared to insignificant numbers for non-pretreated fibers confirming thus that AAS effect on methane yield and production rate is due to the facilitation of hydrolysis step of anaerobic digestion process. This is attributed to AAS directly affecting the disintegration step and thus releasing carbohydrates, which can be further hydrolyzed, from the lignocellulosic matrix.
Original languageEnglish
JournalApplied Energy
Pages (from-to)104-111
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Anaerobic digestion
  • Aqueous ammonia soaking
  • Manure fibers
  • Methane potential
  • Pretreatment

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