A critical review on inhibition of anaerobic digestion process by excess ammonia


Rajagopal, R., Massé, D.I., and Singh, G.M.S. (2013). "A critical review on inhibition of anaerobic digestion process by excess ammonia.", Bioresource Technology, 143, pp. 632-641. doi : 10.1016/j.biortech.2013.06.030


Ammonia plays a vital role in the performance and stability of anaerobic digestion (AD) of N-rich organic-feedstock. Several research works were carried-out to study the effect of ammonia on the efficiency of AD of agro-food, industrial and livestock wastes/wastewater. However, excess ammonia remains a critical hitch in AD process. The mechanism of ammonia-inhibition has also been studied and there is no simple strategy available to mitigate ammonia-toxicity, when it exceeds threshold inhibition-level. For successful operation of AD systems at higher ammonia-level, adequate choice of temperature, control of pH and C/N ratio, and utilization of acclimatized-microflora to higher ammonia concentrations may ensure a stable and undisturbed digestion. This review provides a critical summary of earlier and recent research conducted on ammonia-inhibition during the anaerobic degradation of organic substrates, especially, at high ammonia concentrations. This article emphasizes that more profound knowledge on parameters influencing ammonia-inhibition is needed to apply appropriate control strategies. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

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