Specific methanogenic activity (SMA)

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Assesment of the methane production capability of a sludge and the performance of operational conditions

Specific Methanogenic Activity (SMA) test evaluates the anaerobic sludge capability to convert an organic substrate into methane. The test is used to calculate the maximum methanogenic potential, which represents the maximum capacity of a reactor, operating under ideal conditions, to convert volatile fatty acids into methane. The test is also used to evaluate the sludge activity during different operational steps of an anaerobic system, to select an adapted sludge as inoculum, to follow the changes in sludge activities due to a possible build-up of inert materials, to estimate maximum applicable loading rate to certain sludge or to evaluate batch kinetic parameters.

AMPTS® III and AMPTS® III Light are well-recognised and the recommended laboratory platforms according to the German norm VDI 4630 and several international laboratory protocols for conducting biochemical methane potential or biomethane potential (BMP), specific methanogenic activity (SMA), residual gas potential (RGP) and biohydrogen potential analyses.  

How to perform SMA tests with AMPTS ?

A video prepared by TU Delft on how to perform specific methanogenic activity (SMA) tests with AMPTS  to assess the activity of a digestate from a wastewater treatment plant.


– the automated instrument for BMP, SMA, RGP and biogas potential assays

Automatic Methane Potential Test System (AMPTS) III is the research-standard analytical tool preferred by scientists and engineers for conducting various anaerobic batch fermentation tests. It consists of 18 parallel reactors and the same number of gas flow meters (flow cells) attached to a detection unit for online, automatic data acquisition.  This allows for the real-time investigation of a high number of samples with high precision and accuracy. The unique design makes the AMPTS II an extremely precise and accurate instrument in a wide range of applications.

Photograph of AMPTS III for BMP anerobic testing
Photograph of AMPTS III LIght


– simplify the selection & pricing of substrates

AMPTS III Light is the sister product of the AMPTS III. It is the instrument of choice for process engineers and plant operators when selecting and pricing substrates in biogas plants. The instrument is used for analysing, with up to 9 test vials, biochemical methane potential (BMP), residual gas potential (RGP) as well as anaerobic biodegradability and specific methanogenic activity (SMA) assays. All of this is performed with easy access to sampling, analysis, recording and report generation fully integrated and automated.


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