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anaerobic digestion
(English) The anaerobic breakdown of complex animal and/or plant materials to simple substances which include a high proportion of gaseous and soluble products; it involves a diverse range of bacteria whose metabolic pathways are closely interrelated, and it occurs in benthic muds, in the rumen, in certain types of sewage treatment plant. The process of anaerobic digestion results in an appreciable reduction in the bulk of biodegradable solids - the conversion of organic carbon to methane forming an important part of the carbon cycle. In sewage treatment (and in the treatment of other organic wastes) anaerobic digestion can yield a rich, relatively odorless agricultural fertilizer and a useful fuel gas which may contain 50% or more methane; about 30-70% of solids may be converted to gases.

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