The Biorefinery and Carbon Cycling Program has an ongoing research program led by Dr. K.C. Das on biomethane production from food and livestock industry wastes through anaerobic digestion.

Carrot samples for methanation process
Objectives of the research program on anaerobic digestion:

  1. Collection of anaerobic microbes from different habitats for consortia development
  2. Enrichment of substrate specific anaerobic microbial consortia for food, livestock and paper industry wastes
  3. Isolation and molecular characterization of pure anaerobic bacteria and methanogenic strains
  4. Evaluation of microbial consortia for their efficiency in enhancing methane production
  5. Testing isolates for their tolerance towards acidity, temperature and high solids and production of other value added products, viz., organic acids and ethanol
  6. Upgrading and evaluation of biogas as transportation fuel

Ongoing research projects on anaerobic digestion:

  1. U.S.-Mexico Universities Training, Internships, Exchanges, and Scholarships (TIES) Partnership Initiative project on "Integrated Waste Management with Energy Production for Increased Competitiveness of the Livestock Industry in Northeast Mexico." Funding agency: HED/USAID, 2007-2009
  2. Carrot Waste Anaerobic Digestion for Biogas Production. Funded by Ascend Engineering, Inc. 2008
  3. Development and Evaluation of Feedstock Specific Methanogenic Consortia for Enhanced Biogas Production from Food and Livestock Industry Wastes. 2008-2009. Funded by Seed grant program of B31, University of Georgia Research Foundation. 2008-2009
  4. Development of feedstock specific anaerobic consortia for biogas generation from food waste. Funded by Georgia Centers of Innovation Research and Commercialization Grant. 2008-2009 (Support Pending)

Gerrardo Martinez Castro takes methane measurements from anaerobic digestion samples
US-Mexico partnership in Anaerobic Digestion Research and Development
UGA is an active partner in a research consortium group consisting of (1) Universidad Autonoma de Coahuila, (2) West Virginia State University (Institute, WV), (3) Universidad Autonoma de Chapingo (Mexico), and (4) Instituto Politecnico Nacional (Mexico). The present theme of this collaboration revolves around environmental and agricultural biotechnology, more specifically the fields of biotechnology and bioengineering applied to waste management, environmental remediation, and bioenergy production.

As recipients of the USAID and HED funded U.S.-Mexico Universities Training, Internships, Exchanges, and Scholarships (TIES), the University of Georgia is in partnership with the Universidad Autónoma de Coahuila (UAC), Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León (UANL), and Universidad Autónoma Agraria Antonio Narro (UAAAN). This program targets technology and business policy relating to integrated waste management that is cost-effective and will provide additional income through co-product generation from waste treatment. This is expected to increase industry investment in environmental protection technologies thus ensuring regulatory outcomes like clean water and air while maintaining the competitive business advantage of the industry. The partnership addresses the challenges and opportunities arising from a rapidly growing livestock industry, namely to identify and support agricultural and environmental practices that enhance Mexico's competitiveness while protecting its environment.

USA-India (TNAU)
Two professors, Drs. P. Doraisamy and M. Maheswari from the Fermentation Laboratory, Department of Environmental Sciences, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU), Coimbatore, India, visited the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, University of Georgia, to work with Dr. K.C. Das, Director of the Biorefining and Carbon Cycling Program. The professors collaborated research initiatives for six weeks, September 1 to October 16, 2008.

Dr. M. Maheswari is currently Associate Professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences, TNAU. Her field if specialization is waste management and bioremediation. She has worked on projects related to exploring the potential of various wastes for anaerobic digestion, and has developed technologies for the value addition of wastes such as extraction of enzymes from the wastes, composting of wastes, etc. She is also involved in assessing the impacts of various industrial effluents on soil and water quality. Her publications are in the field of waste recycling and value addition to wastes.

Dr. P. Doraisamy, Professor at TNAU, is specializing in Environmental Biotechnology with special reference to Anaerobic Digestion. He has developed technologies including the designing of reactors for the biomethanation of various organic wastes like sage, rubber, coffee, and poultry litter. By adopting and integrating biomethanation technologies, these industries have met their energy demand in addition to reducing pollution potential. Most of his publications are in the field of anaerobic digestion and waste management. He has developed a data base on anaerobic digestion available at

Other Research Collaborations

  • Dr. William B. Whitman, Department of Microbiology, University of Georgia
  • Dr. Gary Hawkins, Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, UGA, Tifton
  • Dr. Nagamani Balagurusamy, Universidad Autonoma de Coahuila, Torreon, Mexico
  • Dr. Jose Ulises Toledo, West Virginia State University
  • Dr. P. Doraisamy, Department of Environmental Sciences, Tamilnadu Agricultural University, India