Microbial Degradation of Organic Wastes at Low Temperatures.

  • K.V. Ramana Defence Research & Development Establishment, Gwalior.
  • Lokendra Singh Defence Research & Development Establishment, Gwalior
Keywords: Organic wastes, Organic waste disposal method, Aerobic waste treatment method, Artificial heating, Non conventional energy sources, Polymeric materials, Digester insulation, Anaerobic digesters


Microbial degradation of organic wastes mainly comprising animal and human wastes, is drastically reduced at extreme low temperatures. For the biodegradation of these wastes, technological inputs are required from disciplines like microbiology, biochemistry, molecular biology, digester modelling and heat transfer at extreme low temperature climates. Various steps in the process of biodegradation have to be studied to formulate an effective organic waste disposal method. Anaerobic digestion of organic wastes is preferred over aerobic waste treatment method, since it yields biogas as a by-product, which in turn can be utilised for heating the digester contents to increase its efficiency. Furthermore, one of the possibilities that can be explored is the utilisation of high rate anaerobic digesters which maintain temperature by means of artificial heating. It is either met by non-conventional energy sources, such as solar and wind energy, or by expending liquid fuels. In addition, insulation of the digester with polymeric materials and immobilisation of slow growing bacterial population may enhance the digester performance to a great extent. In spite of several developments, inoculum adaptation is considered to be one of the essential steps for low temperature anaerobic digestion to obtain methane as a by-product. With advancements in recombinant DNA technology, it may be possible to increase the efficiency of various microbial population that take part in the anaerobic digestion. However, till date, the options available for low temperature biodegradation are digester insulation, inoculum adaptation, and use of high rate/second-generation digesters.

Author Biographies

K.V. Ramana, Defence Research & Development Establishment, Gwalior.
His MTech (Biotechnology) in 1987. He joined Drdo at the Defence Research & Development Establishment (DRDE), Gwalior, in 1988 his area of research includes biodegradation of Organic wastes at low temperatures.
Lokendra Singh, Defence Research & Development Establishment, Gwalior
His  phD (Microbiology) and joined DRDO in 1984. His area of research includes biodegradation of Organic wastes at low temperatures.


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How to Cite
Ramana, K., & Singh, L. (2013). Microbial Degradation of Organic Wastes at Low Temperatures. Defence Science Journal, 50(4), 371-382. https://doi.org/10.14429/dsj.50.3748
Biomedical Sciences

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