American Chemical Society
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Excellence in Excrements: Upcycling of Herbivore Manure into Nanocellulose and Biogas

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journal contribution
posted on 2021-11-11, 22:44 authored by Kathrin Weiland, Bernhard Wlcek, Theresa Krexner, Iris Kral, Eero Kontturi, Andreas Mautner, Alexander Bauer, Alexander Bismarck
The demand for animal products has significantly increased over the past decades as a result of the growing population and the heightened standards of living. Increased livestock farming does not only yield desired products but also significant quantities of wastes, particularly manure whose storage and application are being monitored with a tightening network of regulations. The problem is that manure is considered merely as a substrate for biogas production or as a fertilizer, whereas the substantial portion of fibers residing in herbivore manure has remained underutilized. Here, we propose a manure management system, in which not only biogas and fertilizer precursors but also high-value materials in the form of (nano)­cellulose are produced. We show that high biogas yields can be achieved for elephant manure and the remaining substrate enables effortless isolation of cellulose nanofibers, leading to a significant reduction of the environmental impact compared with traditional systems based on wood.