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Forage types and origin of manure in codigestion affect methane yield and microbial community structure

Ahlberg-Eliasson, K.; Liu, T.; Nadeau, E.; Schnurer, A.


In farm-scale biogas systems, different kinds of manure are the most important substrate for anaerobic digestion, but result in low biogas yields. Biogas production can be increased by complementing the manure with forage crops, in codigestion. The aim of this study was to evaluate grass-clover (GCS) and whole-crop barley silages (WCB) in codigestion with manure from organic and conventional dairy production systems on biogas production, microbial community, degree of degradation and gas quality at different organic loading rates by addition of soya bean meal and wheat grain, which are rich in protein and starch. Four continuous stirred anaerobic laboratory-scale reactors were used, and the codigestion resulted in additive effects on biogas production, but no synergistic effects. The highest biogas yield was obtained in reactors receiving WCB independently of manure types, for both experiments (7,416ml/day and 10,978ml/day respectively). The degradation efficiency, measured as the reduction in volatile solids was, on average, six percentage units higher in the reactors receiving manure from conventional compared with organic dairy cows, probably because of a higher concentration of undigested fibre and proteins in conventional cow manure. Microbiological analysis by illumina sequencing illustrated low impact of both manure types on the reactor community and only small differences between the reactors receiving GCS and WCB. However, addition of soya bean meal and wheat grain changed the community in all reactors. The ratio between Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes was comparably higher in reactors having the highest gas production and methane yield.


biogas; digestate; greenhouse gas emissions; microbiology; silage

Published in

Grass and Forage Science
2018, Volume: 73, number: 3, pages: 740-757
Publisher: WILEY