Methanogenic treatment of dairy wastewater: A review of current obstacles and new technological perspectives

Min Ye, Yu You Li

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Methanogenic treatment can effectively manage wastewater in the dairy industry. However, its treatment efficiency and stability are problematic due to the feature of wastewater. This review comprehensively summarizes the dairy wastewater characteristics and reveals the mechanisms and impacts of three critical issues in anaerobic treatment, including ammonia and long-chain fatty acid (LCFA) inhibition and trace metal (TM) deficiency. It evaluates current remedial strategies and the implementation of anaerobic membrane bioreactor (AnMBR) technology. It assesses the use of nitrogen-removed effluent return to dilute the influent for solving protein-rich dairy wastewater treatment. It explores the methodology of TM addition to dairy wastewater in accordance with microbial TM content and proliferation. It analyzes the multiple benefits of applying high-solid AnMBR to lipid-rich influent to mitigate LCFA inhibition. Finally, it proposes a promising low-carbon treatment system with enhanced bioenergy recovery, nitrogen removal, and simultaneous phosphorus recovery that could promote carbon neutrality for dairy industry wastewater treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number161447
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Mar 25


  • Ammonia inhibition
  • Anaerobic digestion
  • Anaerobic membrane bioreactor
  • Long-chain fatty acid
  • Microbial response
  • Trace metal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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