Institute of

Biodiversity

Organic waste treatment (Composting, Biogas)

Dried chicken feces (left) and  Maize silage (right) as a starting material for biogas production
Dried chicken feces (left) and Maize silage (right) as a starting material for biogas production (© Thünen-Institut/BD)

Microbial activities provide important means to degrade organic waste and generate usable end-products, i.e., bioenergy (“biogas”) or soil fertilizers. The cultivation-independent molecular analyses of microbial communities offers a great potential to identify the organisms involved in the treatment of different organic wastes under anaerobic or aerobic conditions and interpret the significance of specific process conditions e.g. to reduce undesired metabolic side-effects. Another important aspect is to characterize the microbial diversity associated with the end-products which are utilized for soil amelioration.