Pig carcase bioreduction using anaerobic digestion (AD) stage 2


01 October 2013 - 30 September 2015
AHDB Pork and Defra
Project leader:
Harper Adams University College

About this project

  • To develop anaerobic digestion (AD) to optimise biogas production, bioreduction and pathogen destruction.
  • To produce a report for the European Food Standards Authority (EFSA) to find out whether AD can be accepted as a safe means of disposal of fallen pigs under EU. legislation.
  • To determine the optimum conditions for AD of porcine carcase material (PCM). 


  • Significant levels of biogas can be produced from AD of PCM.
  • AD of PCM was more efficient and stable at 35ºC than 55ºC.
  • Pathogen destruction was greater at 55ºC than 35ºC and reduction of spore forming bacteria such as C. perfringens was minimal at 35ºC.
  • Small scale on-farm systems may be a cost-effective alternative to incineration or collection. 
  • Some form of pretreatment by sterilisation is required to ensure adequate levels of pathogen destruction, and pig slurry can be effectively utilised as a co-substrate.

Further information

Research into Action 22: On-farm storage and bioreduction of non-ruminant livestock

On-farm storage and bioreduction of pig carcase material by anaerobic digestion (stage 1)

Defra evidence project final report