The Influence of Trace Elements on Anaerobic Digestion Process

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The article is the literature review on the importance of trace elements supplementation in the methane fermentation process. The production of biogas, including methane, as well as the efficiency of the process depend on the substrates to be fermented. Substances supplied with the substrate as well as products generated in the decomposition phases can inhibit the process. The factor limiting fermentation is the rate of enzymatic hydrolysis of substrates. Certain compounds, such as alkanes, alkenes, biphenol, aromatic hydrocarbons, alcohols and ketones, are not directly susceptible to hydrolysis. They undergo this process in the presence of extracellular enzymes.

The instability of the methane fermentation process described in the literature may be related to the lack of trace elements or micronutrients. Trace elements (Co, Ni, Cu, Mn, Fe, Zn, Se and Mo) are components of enzymes, some bacterial nucleic acids and essential for the synthesis of vitamins. The role of some trace elements, eg. Fe or Mo, has been well understood, while the importance of others still needs to be clarified. Literature data indicate that supplementing trace elements not only prevents process inhibition, but can also improve its performance by providing higher methane production.

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