Anaerobic digestion of halophytic plant residues for biogas production

  • Joao M. Uratani

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Salicornia bigelovii is a halophyte with potential usage as feedstock for bioenergy generation. It can be cultivated without need for fresh water irrigation or arable land, and oil-rich seeds could be used for biodiesel production. In the haloagriculture of S. bigelovii for seed harvest, Salicornia biomass waste (SBW) can be converted into biogas and recyclable nutrients. A technical assessment of the feasibility of the anaerobic digestion conversion of halophytic plant residues from Salicornia sp. (SBW) into biogas, along with nutrient recovery is assessed via experimental analyses and mathematical model simulation. Anaerobic digestion (AD) of a mild aqueous extraction of SBW, using salt water containing 50 gNaCl/L, resulted in bioconversion of over 50% of the total COD into methane after 30 days with adapted inoculum. The yields of conversion measured are comparable with controls using a very bioavailable substrate (glucose). These results indicate the potential energy recoverability from SBW after mild pre-treatment without using fresh water neither for crop cultivation nor for bioprocessing of the plant residues. Further process optimization and best design guidelines of the AD system based on the laboratory experiments and model simulation are proposed, along with a comprehensive literature review of halophilic microorganisms of interest that might present biotechnological application potential for the enhancement of this and related bioprocesses.
Date of AwardJun 2013
Original languageAmerican English
SupervisorJorge Rodriguez (Supervisor)


  • BMP; SBR; Salicornia sp.; halophyte; high salinity; biogas

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