Impact of storage conditions on the methanogenic activity of anaerobic digestion inocula
The impact of storage temperature (4, 22 and 37 °C) and storage time (7, 14 and 21 days) on anaerobic digestion inocula was investigated through specific methanogenic activity assays. Experimental results showed that methanogenic activity decreased over time with storage, regardless of storage temperature. However, the rate at which the methanogenic activity decreased was two and five times slower at 4 °C than at 22 and 37 °C, respectively. The inoculum stored at 4 °C and room temperature (22 °C) maintained methanogenic activity close to that of fresh inoculum for 14 days (<10% difference). However, a storage temperature of 4 °C is preferred because of the slower decrease in activity with lengthier storage time. From this research, it was concluded that inoculum storage time should generally be kept to a minimum, but that storage at 4 °C could help maintain methanogenic activity for longer.