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Research article2019Peer reviewed

The correlation of methanogenic communities' dynamics and process performance of anaerobic digestion of thermal hydrolyzed sludge at short hydraulic retention times

Wandera, Simon M.; Westerholm, Maria; Qiao, Wei; Yin, Dongmin; Jiang, MengMeng; Dong, Renjie


Requirement of a long hydraulic retention time (HRT) for efficient degradation restrains the anaerobic digestion of hydrothermal pretreated sludge. Shortening the HRT can increase the treatment capacity of a plant but may also induce digester instability. This study investigated the impact of HRT on process performance and microbial community by consecutively operating a reactor for 145 days. The HRT was gradually decreased from 20 to 10, 5, and 3 days. The methane yield declined from 0.28 to 0.12 L/g-VSin with this shortening, and acetate concentration increased from 38 to 376 mg/L. Methanoculleus (58%) dominated methanogens at a 20 days HRT. However, the methanogenic structure shifted toward an increased level of Methanospirillum, representing 95% of the total archaea at a 3 days HRT. Microorganisms were almost washed out at the end of experiment. Conclusively, shortening HRTs is a feasible strategy to increase treatment capacity and produce more biogas at existing plants.


Methanogenic communities; Process performance; Anaerobic digestion; Thermal hydrolyzed sludge; Hydraulic retention times

Published in

Bioresource Technology
2019, Volume: 272, pages: 180-187

    Associated SLU-program

    Food Waste

    Sustainable Development Goals

    SDG7 Affordable and clean energy

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Water Treatment
    Energy Systems

    Publication identifier


    Permanent link to this page (URI)