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Anaerobic digestion of porcine carcase material - SE4404

Description
The UK pig industry currently produces over 210,000 tonnes of category 2 and 3 animal by-products (ABP) per annum that must be disposed of by either incineration or collection and disposal by rendering at a cost to the UK pig industry of up to £20 million. In addition, movement between farms to facilitate ABP collection represents a serious risk to bio-security. European legislation provides scope for the consideration of alternative methods of ABP use or disposal if it can be demonstrated that they are equivalent to accepted method and present no risk to public or animal health. Anaerobic digestion (AD) is the transformation of organic matter to volatile fatty acids and biogas (CO2 and CH4) by a mixed bacterial ecosystem in the absence of oxygen. Animal by-products potentially provide ideal substrate for use in AD systems because of their high protein and fat content, which has a high energy recovery potential.

The advantages of AD are that it may reduce the energy use and increase the bio-security of ABP disposal, and provide a more cost effective and sustainable alternative to currently accepted methods. In addition, assuming acceptable levels of pathogen destruction the digestate produced may potentially be used as a source of plant nutrients in agricultural systems. Current work at Harper Adams University College suggests that AD can be used for storage and bio-reduction of pig carcase material (PCM) with high level of biogas and carcase reduction. In addition, it has been shown to significantly reduce pathogen numbers. However, further work is required to develop protocols to optimise digester performance and destroy pathogens.

The aim of the project is to quantify the risks associated with on-farm anaerobic digestion of fallen pigs and develop protocols to optimize biogas production, bio-reduction and pathogen destruction of PCM. Experiments will be conducted using bench top digesters to develop protocols for AD of PCM to optimize biogas production, bio-reduction and pathogen destruction. It is anticipated that the information derived from this project will provide an evidence base on the efficacy and safety of anaerobic digestion of as an alternative system for containment of category 2 PCM which will be used to inform future research.
Objective
The aim of the project is to provide further evidence on the efficacy and safety of on-farm anaerobic digestion as an alternative method for containment or disposal of fallen pigs to prepare the groundwork for a submission for an EFSA Opinion and to inform further research.

The specific objectives are:

1. To develop protocols for anaerobic digestion of PCM to optimize biogas production, bio-reduction and pathogen destruction (WP1).

2. To prepare a report on the potential efficacy and safety of anaerobic digestion of fallen pigs to prepare the groundwork for a submission to EFSA for an Opinion and inform further research (WP2).

Objective 2 in dependent on objective 1
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2013

To: 2015

Cost: £154,646
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Harper Adams University College
Keywords
BSE              
Rendering