This research adapted a batch test for biochemical methane production (BMP) to follow the degradation of complex compounds such as proteins and vegetable oils. The test measured the transformation of albumin and olive oil into methane under mesophilic and thermophilic conditions and assess limiting step in the overall degradation process. The thermophilic sludge used for the BMP tests was adapted during ten month from mesophilic sludge while being fed food waste. As compared to acetic acid, the specific rate of transformation of albumin and olive oil into methane reached 22 and 51%, respectively, under mesophilic conditions. Acetoclastic methanogenesis was not the limiting step in the presence of albumin or olive oil (and its monomer-like molecules such as amino acids, glycerol and oleic acid). Rather, the degradation of albumin was restricted by the presence of proteins. The thermophilically adapted sludge showed good proteolytic activity, but its acetoclastic methanogens were unable to degrade olive oil, because of the inhibitory effect of oleic acid.

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