Microaerobic alternative of anaerobic digestion offers many advantages especially when sulfide concentration in the digester is high. For better understanding of the microaerobic technology more detailed characterization of biomass activity is needed. Two equal digesters were operated under the same condition except of microaeration in one of them. During long term operation of anaerobic and microaerobic digesters the sludge quality and the biomass activity was monitored. The activity of sulfide oxidizing bacteria of microaerobic biomass was significantly higher in comparison with anaerobic biomass. The activity of sulfate reducing bacteria was comparable. The activity of methanogenic bacteria activity depended on sulfide concentration more than on microaeration. The extent of foaming problems was lower in the microaerobic than in the anaerobic digester.
Keywords: anaerobic digestion, foaming, methanogenic bacteria, microaerobic conditions, sulfate reducing bacteria, sulfide oxidizing bacteria