The paper reviews results and experience of microaerobic experiments at both high and low sulphide concentrations and evaluates advantages and drawbacks of the anaerobic digestion of sludge in microaerobic conditions as regards biogas quality, digested sludge quality, organic pollutants biodegradability and methanogenic activity of biomass. The innovative microaerobic modification of the anaerobic sludge digestion technology was studied in both laboratory and full scale. Microaerobic conditions are obtained by dosing of a limited amount of the air into the liquid phase of the anaerobic digester. It was shown that anaerobic bacteria including methanogens can be active also in such system. In a mixed culture, even strict anaerobes can survive without inhibition, if the facultative microorganisms are able to consume the present oxygen quickly and fully. Until now, the microaerobic conditions were predominantly used for hydrogen sulphide removal from biogas. In the paper the role of the surplus oxygen was studied also at low sulphide concentration, when the oxygen is consumed in high extent for other processes beside sulphide oxidation.
Keywords: anaerobic digestion, biodegradability, methanogenic activity, microaerobic conditions, sulphide oxidation