Liquid livestock waste can be managed by separating liquid and solid fractions then treating each separately by applying best available technology, such as anaerobic digestion for the solid fraction. There is an increasing use of polyacrylamide (PAM) as a flocculant agent to improve solid-liquid separation. In the present work, the anaerobic toxicity of PAM residues and the optimal range of total solids concentration for maximum methane production were studied as a function of PAM dosage. Results showed that dry matter and its volatile solids content increased significantly with increasing PAM dosage. Batch anaerobic tests showed that methane yield decreased linearly with increasing total solids, while the methane production per unit of raw substrate reached a maximum at 16.4% total solids. No PAM toxicity was measured for PAM concentrations below 415 g/kg total solids, but some indirect inhibitory phenomena were observed, such as a limited hydrolysis rate due to particle aggregation, and inhibition of methanogenesis by high ammonia concentration. © 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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