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Ammonia inhibition and toxicity in anaerobic digestion: A critical review

Ammonia inhibition and toxicity in anaerobic digestion: A critical review
Ammonia inhibition and toxicity in anaerobic digestion: A critical review

As a waste management technology which offers environmental benefit and renewable energy production, anaerobic digestion (AD) has become the preferred technology for the treatment of organic waste. However, in such waste streams nitrogen contents are likely to be high. There is prevailing literature evidence suggests that high ammonia concentration especially its free molecular form (NH3), derived from nitrogen content in substrates is the cause of inhibition and sudden failure of the AD process. This paper comprehensively reviews previous knowledge from digestion studies using high nitrogen waste streams as feedstocks and critically analysed the considerable variations in the inhibition/toxicity levels reported for ammonia. Literature evidences suggest methanogens, particularly acetoclastic methanogens are most susceptible to ammonia toxicity, and therefore this review has a particular focus on the mechanism of the ‘selective’ inhibition to methanogens and the impact of ammonia toxicity to the overall methanogen population in an AD digester. This population change explains in many reported cases that sufficient acclimatisation can significantly alleviate the phenomenon of inhibition and specific requirement of certain trace nutrients. Currently available mitigation strategies for high nitrogen content feedstock digestion are reviewed and discussed in relation to the population change and trace nutrient requirements.

Ammonia, Anaerobic Digestion, Inhibition, Methanogenesis, Toxicity
2214-7144
Jiang, Ying
d971c732-7e9a-40ba-a573-1cdd5cba287d
McAdam, Ewan
4d6f7f27-1cf1-40b5-a36b-2c2af1442286
Zhang, Yue
69b11d32-d555-46e4-a333-88eee4628ae7
Heaven, Sonia
f25f74b6-97bd-4a18-b33b-a63084718571
Banks, Charles
5c6c8c4b-5b25-4e37-9058-50fa8d2e926f
Longhurst, Philp
25cac8f8-5a21-47ee-93a1-12b88812ecba
Jiang, Ying
d971c732-7e9a-40ba-a573-1cdd5cba287d
McAdam, Ewan
4d6f7f27-1cf1-40b5-a36b-2c2af1442286
Zhang, Yue
69b11d32-d555-46e4-a333-88eee4628ae7
Heaven, Sonia
f25f74b6-97bd-4a18-b33b-a63084718571
Banks, Charles
5c6c8c4b-5b25-4e37-9058-50fa8d2e926f
Longhurst, Philp
25cac8f8-5a21-47ee-93a1-12b88812ecba

Jiang, Ying, McAdam, Ewan, Zhang, Yue, Heaven, Sonia, Banks, Charles and Longhurst, Philp (2019) Ammonia inhibition and toxicity in anaerobic digestion: A critical review. Journal of Water Process Engineering, 32, [100899]. (doi:10.1016/j.jwpe.2019.100899).

Record type: Review

Abstract

As a waste management technology which offers environmental benefit and renewable energy production, anaerobic digestion (AD) has become the preferred technology for the treatment of organic waste. However, in such waste streams nitrogen contents are likely to be high. There is prevailing literature evidence suggests that high ammonia concentration especially its free molecular form (NH3), derived from nitrogen content in substrates is the cause of inhibition and sudden failure of the AD process. This paper comprehensively reviews previous knowledge from digestion studies using high nitrogen waste streams as feedstocks and critically analysed the considerable variations in the inhibition/toxicity levels reported for ammonia. Literature evidences suggest methanogens, particularly acetoclastic methanogens are most susceptible to ammonia toxicity, and therefore this review has a particular focus on the mechanism of the ‘selective’ inhibition to methanogens and the impact of ammonia toxicity to the overall methanogen population in an AD digester. This population change explains in many reported cases that sufficient acclimatisation can significantly alleviate the phenomenon of inhibition and specific requirement of certain trace nutrients. Currently available mitigation strategies for high nitrogen content feedstock digestion are reviewed and discussed in relation to the population change and trace nutrient requirements.

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Accepted/In Press date: 14 July 2019
e-pub ahead of print date: 20 July 2019
Published date: December 2019
Keywords: Ammonia, Anaerobic Digestion, Inhibition, Methanogenesis, Toxicity

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 433088
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/433088
ISSN: 2214-7144
PURE UUID: 6386e67e-af33-47a8-9bd8-bb0c5cf7f004
ORCID for Yue Zhang: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-5068-2260
ORCID for Sonia Heaven: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-7798-4683

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 07 Aug 2019 16:30
Last modified: 20 Jul 2020 04:01

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Contributors

Author: Ying Jiang
Author: Ewan McAdam
Author: Yue Zhang ORCID iD
Author: Sonia Heaven ORCID iD
Author: Charles Banks
Author: Philp Longhurst

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