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Influence of high gas production during thermophilic anaerobic digestion in pilot-scale and lab-scale reactors on survival of the thermotolerant pathogens Clostridium perfringens and Campylobacter jejuni in piggery wastewater

Skillman, L.C., Bajsa, O., Ho, L., Santhanam, B., Kumar, M. and Ho, G. (2009) Influence of high gas production during thermophilic anaerobic digestion in pilot-scale and lab-scale reactors on survival of the thermotolerant pathogens Clostridium perfringens and Campylobacter jejuni in piggery wastewater. Water Research, 43 (13). pp. 3281-3291.

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Link to Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.watres.2009.04.031
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Abstract

Safe reuse of animal wastes to capture energy and nutrients, through anaerobic digestion processes, is becoming an increasingly desirable solution to environmental pollution. Pathogen decay is the most important safety consideration and is in general, improved at elevated temperatures and longer hydraulic residence times. During routine sampling to assess pathogen decay in thermophilic digestion, an inversely proportional relationship between levels of Clostridium perfringens and gas production was observed. Further samples were collected from pilot-scale, bench-scale thermophilic reactors and batch scale vials to assess whether gas production (predominantly methane) could be a useful indicator of decay of the thermotolerant pathogens C. perfringens and Campylobacter jejuni. Pathogen levels did appear to be lower where gas production and levels of methanogens were higher. This was evident at each operating temperature (50, 57, 65 °C) in the pilot-scale thermophilic digesters, although higher temperatures also reduced the numbers of pathogens detected. When methane production was higher, either when feed rate was increased, or pH was lowered from 8.2 (piggery wastewater) to 6.5, lower numbers of pathogens were detected. Although a number of related factors are known to influence the amount and rate of methane production, it may be a useful indicator of the removal of the pathogens C. perfringens and C. jejuni.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: Western Australian State Agricultural Biotechnology Centre
School of Environmental Science
Publisher: Elsevier BV
Copyright: © 2009 Elsevier Ltd
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/5057
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