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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2006

Identification of the microbiological community in biogas systems and evaluation of microbial risks from gas usage

Vinneras B, Schonning C, Nordin A


The plans for introducing biogas produced from organic waste to the pipe system for natural gas has raised concerns about the risk of transmitting disease via the gas. To assess this risk, condensate water from gas pipes and gas from different parts of a biogas upgrading system were sampled and cultured for microbial content. On average, 10(5) Cfu ml(-1) were found in the condensate water throughout the system, while in the gas between 10 and 100 cfu m(-3) were found. The microorganisms were subjected to further identification and found to represent a wide variety, e.g. fungi and spore-forming and non-spore-forming bacteria, including species such as Enterobacteriaceae. The number of microorganisms found in the biogas corresponded to the densities in sampled natural 3 gas, which also held 10-100 cfu m(-3). Since no pathogens were identified and since the exposure to gas from e.g. cookers and refuelling of cars may only result in the inhalation of small volumes of gas, the risk of spreading disease via biogas was judged to be very low. (c) 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved


Biofilm; biogas; biowaste; natural gas; pathogens; upgrading of biogas

Published in

Science of the Total Environment
2006, volume: 367, number: 2-3, pages: 606-615

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Energy and Technology
Nordin, Annika
Schönning, Caroline
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Energy and Technology

UKÄ Subject classification

Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use

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