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Conference abstract, 2008

Pathogen Reduction in Small-Scale Biogas Plants in a Tropical Region - Bench-Scale Experiments

Yen-Phi, VT; Clemens, J; Rechenburg, A; Vinnerås, Björn; Kistemann, T


Small-scale biogas plants in tropical regions are cost-effective and therefore a popular way to treat animal slurries and produce cooking gas (Foresti, 2001). However their pathogen reduction efficacy is not well documented. Some site studies found Escherichia coli, Salmonella spp. with high concentrations in the effluents of these plants (e.g. Kobayashi et al., 2003). This research aims to evaluate the pathogen reduction in this sanitation solution. This paper presents findings from preliminary laboratory tests for the reduction of pathogens and indicator microorganisms E.coli, Salmonella spp., Enterococci, Clostridium perfringens, somatic coliphages and Ascaris suum eggs from fresh cattle and swine slurry substrates. Temperature conditions replicated an average tropical biogas plant (30oC) but a higher retention time of 45 days was chosen. Substrates were spiked with low (103–104 CFU/mL) and high (106–107 CFU/mL) microbial concentrations. Ascaris suum eggs were placed in bags prior to incubation (10,000 eggs per bag). Substrates without inoculates were used as controls. Results showed that the examined coliphages and bacteria survived longer at low initial concentrations. The slurry type affected the survival of some organisms. After a lag phase of 1-2 days E. coli and Salmonella spp. concentrations decreased rapidly regardless of substrate and treatment. None were present after 8 days indicating a T90 of < 2.0 days. Enterococci spp. showed no significant difference between slurries under identical treatments but the survival rate differed between low and high initial concentrations (T90 of 20.0 days and 12.0 days respectively). Somatic coliphages survived longer in swine than cattle slurry at low concentration with T90 of 42.8 and 23.4 days respectively. High initial inoculation showed higher removal rates as compared to low initial concentration (T90 of 13.6 and 21.0 days respectively). Similar trends were observed for Clostridium perfringens with T90 varying from 21.6 to 72.4 days. The viability of Ascaris suum eggs decreased from 82 % to 25 % after 45 days in both slurries and corresponded to a T90 of approximately 90 days. The results indicate that viability relates to concentration. Survival rates of E. coli and Salmonella spp. indicate that a minimum retention time of 4 days combined with a hydraulic retention time of > 10 days is needed for acceptable (>log 4) removal of these zoonotic organisms. Other organisms tested require a longer retention time to be noticeably reduced. These findings show the reduction efficacy of key pathogens in small-scale tropical biogas plants is promising

Published in


Sanitation Challenges

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Energy and Technology
Rechenburg, A
Clemens, J
Kistemann, T
Yen-Phi, VT

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