Production of methane from maize cob fed termites
Termites are detritivores, which means that by consuming decomposing organic matter they obtain nutrients. By feeding on cellulose matter, termites generate methane. Waste energy content offers good opportunities to generate low-cost and available energy. This can help increase energy access and reduce energy poverty in Africa. This work helps to determine the rate of gas production by termites when fed with maize cob. A simulated environment was created for Macrotermes Subhyhalinus Sp. of termites made with optically transparent polycarbonate material (plexiglas). Methane emission from termites’ simulated environment was monitored with the use of a gas flow meter. The termites’ production rate was highest at dry temperature 28.07oC with RH of 88.30%, and 0.630μg/termite/day flow rate was recorded form their simulated laboratory environment. The cellulose in maize shaft/cob is in the native state and the chemical composition not inhibited by processing; this led to the relatively high consumption and overall production rate of termites when they fed on it because maize cob was easier to digest.
Keywords: Detritivores, Macrotermes Subhyalinus sp., simulated environment, Polycarbonate