Microbial Analysis for Biogas Plants

Mikrobielle Analytik für Biogasanlagen

Methane formation requires not only the methanogenic microorganisms but also those bacteria providing the necessary primary products. E.g. hydrogenotrophic methanogenes, often prevalent in high-throughput fermenters, depend on elementary Hydrogen delivered directly to their cell walls. This task is carried out by so-called "syntrophic" bacteria.

AMODIA has identified a group of selected syntrophics (ASG: AMODIA syntrophic group) which react sensitive to disorders in the fermentation process. Thus this marker indicates a malfunction BEFORE other indicators give a hint.

In order to control biogas plants usually physico-chemical analysis is performed. But the chemical processes in a biogas fermenter are performed by a variety of different microorganisms.

In a research project (FNR: 22005812) we were able to demonstrate that fermenters of biogas plants may be classified according to the composition of methanogenic bacteria (archaea). This classification of biogas fermenters can be correlated with physico-chemical parameters, but goes way beyond.

The better the knowledge of the microbial composition in a fermenter of a biogas plant, the better the control over the process. Especially in the case of a disturbed methane production it is important to know where exactly the fermentation process is inhibited. Otherwise precious time is wasted with measures "at the off chance" of hitting the root cause.

Besides the methanogenic archaea AMODIAs detailed analysis comprises also the so called syntrophic bacteria. This allows to detect possible bottlenecks in the methane production.