Application of thermal treatment at 100–140 °C as a pretreatment method prior to anaerobic digestion of a mixture of cattle and swine manure was investigated. In a batch test, biogasification of manure with thermally pretreated solid fraction proceeded faster and resulted in the increase of methane yield. The performances of two thermophilic continuously stirred tank reactors (CSTR) treating manure with solid fraction pretreated for 40 minutes at 140 °C and non-treated manure were compared. The digester fed with the thermally pretreated manure had a higher methane productivity and an improved removal of the volatile solids (VS). The properties of microbial communities of both reactors were analysed. The specific methanogenic activity (SMA) test showed that both biomasses had significant activity towards hydrogen and formate, while the activity with the VFA – acetate, propionate and butyrate – was low. The kinetic parameters of the VFA conversion revealed a reduced affinity of the microbial community from the CSTR fed with thermally pre-treated manure for acetate, propionate and butyrate. The bacterial and archaeal populations identified by t-RLFP analysis of 16S rRNA genes were found to be identical in both systems. However, a change in the abundance of the species present was detected.

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