Strategies for recovering inhibition caused by long chain fatty acids on anaerobic thermophilic biogas reactors

J. Palatsi, M. Laureni, M.V. Andres, X. Flotats, Henrik Bangsø Nielsen, Irini Angelidaki

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Long chain fatty acids (LCFA) concentrations over 1.0 g L1 were inhibiting manure thermophilic digestion, in batch and semi-continuous experiments, resulting in a temporary cease of the biogas production. The aim of the work was to test and evaluate several recovery actions, such as reactor feeding patterns, dilution and addition of adsorbents, in order to determine the most appropriate strategy for fast recovery of the reactor activity in manure based plants inhibited by LCFA. Dilution with active inoculum for increasing the biomass/LCFA ratio, or addition of adsorbents for adsorbing the LCFA and reducing the bioavailable LCFA concentration, were found to be the best recovery strategies, improving the recovery time from 10 to 2 days, in semi-continuously fed systems. Moreover, acclimatization was introduced by repeated inhibition and process recovery. The subsequent exposure of the anaerobic biomass to an inhibitory concentration of LCFA improved the recovery ability of the system, indicated as increasing degradation rates from 0.04 to 0.16 g COD_CH4/g VS day. The incubation time between subsequent pulses, or discontinuous LCFA pulses, seems to be a decisive process parameter to tackle LCFA inhibition in manure anaerobic co-digestion. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved
Original languageEnglish
JournalBioresource Technology
Issue number20
Pages (from-to)4588-4596
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • Bio energy
  • Biomass gasification


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