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Continental J.

Applied Sciences 6 (1): 21 - 24, 2011 ISSN: 1597 - 9928

©Wilolud Journals, 2011


Imasuen, A.O1. Olugbemide, A.D2., Ogungbemide, D.I. and Osula Joyce2

School of Applied Science and Technology, Auchi Polytechnic, Auchi, Edo State, Nigeria. 2School of General
Studies, Auchi Polytechnic, Auchi Edo State.

The effectiveness of using fresh maize leaves for biogas production was investigated under varying
dilution ratios. Five anaerobic digesters were used for the experiment, labeled A to E representing the
dilution ratios. Anaerobic digestion of fresh maize leaves was carried out at mesophilic temperature
(28+2oC) for a period of 20 days. Digester A was the only digester in which biogas production started
in the first 24 hours. A maximum of 520ml of biogas was obtained in E while digester B recorded the
lowest volume of 100ml. Digesters A, C and D produced 470ml, 270ml and 450ml respectively. The
experimental results showed that the digester E with 1:5 content had the significantly higher
performance compared to the rest.

KEYWORDS: Anaerobic digester, biogas, maize leaves, dilution ratios

The anaerobic digestion process is one of the established technologies for wastes in agro-food industry. It can be
either used to treat biodegradable wastes or produce saleable products with economic value. This is a natural
process where complex organic matter is broken into simpler substances by micro-organisms under airless
conditions. Anaerobic micro-organisms digest the organic matter in the absence of oxygen, to produce methane,
carbon dioxide and solid residue (Senadeera, et al). Constituents of biogas and their symbols are depicted in
Table 1. One of the main abilities of anaerobic digestion is the conversion of organic matter to energy rich
biogas that can be used as fuel. Additional benefits of anaerobic digestion are the conversion of fertilizer value
of the feed material, pathogen reduction, odour reduction, resource recovery, and mitigation of green house
gases of environmental concern (Harris, 1999).

Considering most of the developing world’s residents live in rural agriculture oriented communities, use of
agricultural materials for biogas generation is a welcome development that should be pursed with keen interest
and vigour. Therefore, understanding the conditions, policies, and implications of biogas adoption can help form
insights into how similar regions can successfully integrate biogas into their societies and economics (White,

According to Sadaka and Engler (2003), water content is one of the very important parameters affecting
anaerobic digestion of solid wastes. There are two main reasons i.e. a) water make possible the movement and
growth of bacteria facilitating the dissolution and transport of nutrients; and b) water reduces the limitation of
mass transfer of non homogenous or particulate substrate. It is therefore imperative to know the optimal amount
of water to be added to feed stocks meant for energy generation for maximum performance. The objective of
this study was to evaluate the potentials of fresh maize leaves for biogas production in an anaerobic batch
digester at various dilution ratios.

Table1. Biogas Compositions

Component Symbol Percentage Content of Gas
Methane CH4 50-70
Carbon dioxide CO2 30-40
Hydrogen H2 5-10
Nitrogen N2 1-2
Water vapour H 2O 0.3
Hydrogen sulphide H 2S Traces
Source: Eshraideh, 2002.


Fresh maize leaves used for the experiment were collected from a farm in Auchi, Edo State. The leaves were
ground into paste with mortar and pestle to increase the surface area available for microbial activities.

Imasuen, A.O et al.,: Continental J. Applied Sciences 6 (1): 21 - 24, 2011

A set of five digesters were used for the experiment and were labeled A to E. The experimental set up is shown
below in fig.1. The digesters had the same amount of maize leaves, 200g each but different amount of water was
added to each of the digesters. The composition of the digesters A to E is given below:
i) Digester A consisted of 200g of fresh maize leaves and 200ml 0f water (1:1 ratio)

ii) Digester B consisted of 200g of fresh maize leaves and 400ml of water (1: 2 ratio) iii) Digester C consisted
of 200g of fresh maize leaves and 600ml of water (1: 3 ratio)

iv) Digester D consisted of 200g of fresh maize leaves and800ml of water (1: 4 ratio)

v) Digester E consisted of 200g of fresh maize leaves and 1000ml of water (1: 5 ratio)

Anaerobic digestion of fresh maize leaves was carried out at mesophilic temperature (28+2oC) for a period of
20 days and agitated manually once daily. The pH’s of the digester mixtures were determined before and after
the experiment with a pH meter.


PVC tubing


digester trough
beehive shelf
Fig. 1 Experimental set-up for biogas production from maize leaves

Table 2. pH of maize leaves slurry before and after anaerobic digestion

pH 1:1 1:2 1:3 1:4 1:5
Before digestion 3.98 4.22 4.25 4.08 3.98
After digestion 3.36 9.46 10.93 9.75 10.49


Table 2 shows the pH’s of the digesters before and after anaerobic digestion of the substrates. It was observed in
all the digesters except in digester A that the slurries after the expiration of the experiments were alkaline in
nature in contrast to the acidic nature of the slurries at the beginning.

Fig. 2 shows daily biogas production from fresh maize leaves. Biogas production was measured during 20-day
anaerobic digestion. Digester A (1:1 ratio) started production from day 1 with 110ml of biogas with the highest
daily production of 120ml on day 2. Digester B produced 30ml daily from day 2 to day 4 of the experiment and
declined sharply to 10ml on day 5 and stop producing till the last day of the experiment. In digester C the
highest biogas production was recorded on day 12 (90ml). A lag phase of 7 days was observed before a

Imasuen, A.O et al.,: Continental J. Applied Sciences 6 (1): 21 - 24, 2011

turnaround in production for the next two days before eventually coming to a halt. In digester D most of the
biogas was produced in the first 11 days of the experiment followed by a significant decrease with only 30ml
produced in the next two days and finally no production for the remaining days of the experiment. Digester E
offered the best performance in comparison with the other digesters in the sense that it produced the highest
volume of biogas which was about 68% higher than the least production from digester B. However, the
maximum yield from maize leaves was far lower than 1980ml reported for Elephant grass in our previous work
(Olugbemide et al., 2010).

daily biogas production from maize leaves

volume of biogas (ml)

140 1:1 daily

120 1:2 daily
100 1:3 daily
80 1:4 daily

60 1:5 daily

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
time (days)

Fig. 2 Daily production of biogas from maize leaves at different dilution ratios

Biogas production from maize leaves was studied by performing laboratory experiments using different dilution
regimes. The results of the experiment established the feasibility of maize leaves for biogas generation with the
optimum biomass-to-water ratio of 1:5. It is believed that at this dilution ratio, the movement and growth of
bacteria was enhanced and also, dissolution and transport of nutrients was facilitated and consequently increase
in biogas production. Further research work needs to be done on co-digestion of maize leaves with other organic
wastes to enhance their biogas yield.

Eshraideh, M.A. (2004). An educational biogas prospect in Tolkarm. M.Sc. Thesis. An Najah National

Harris, P. (1999). The role of anaerobic digestion in an integrated biosystem, In: Proceedings of the national
workshop on wastewater treatment and integrated aquaculture, ed. S. Kumar, SARDI Aquatic Sciences, 182-

Olugbemide, A.D., Ufuah, M.O.E., Igbonazobi, L.C. and Osula, J.E. (2010). Effect of alkaline pre-treatment on
anaerobic batch digestion of Elephant grass (Pennisetum purpureum). Book of Abstracts, International
Conference of Chemical Society of Nigeria, 21st-24th September, 2010.

Sadaka, S.S. and Engler, C.R. (2003). Effect of initial total solids on composting of raw manure with biogas
recovery. Compost Sci. and Utilization. 11(4): 361-369.

Senadeera, W., Harris, P., Burge, A. and Fielke, J. (2004). Anaerobic digestion- A sustainable opportunity. In:
Proceedings of Biennial Conference of the Society for Engineering in Agriculture, Dubbo, Australia.

White, R.A. (2005). The role of biogas in rural development and resource protection in China: A case study of
Lijiang Municipality, Yunnan Province, China. P.R.E.M.I.U.M. Research experience for undergraduates
sponsored by the National Science Foundation and Michigan State University.

Imasuen, A.O et al.,: Continental J. Applied Sciences 6 (1): 21 - 24, 2011

Received for Publication: 26/02/11

Accepted for Publication: 16/03/11

Corresponding Author
Imasuen, A.O
School of Applied Science and Technology, Auchi Polytechnic, Auchi, Edo State, Nigeria.