Acidogenic fermentation of industrial wastewaters: Effects of chemostat retention time and pH on volatile fatty acids production
Acidogenic fermentation of wastewater can serve as a first step in a process for mixed culture production of polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) since the produced volatile fatty acids (VFA) are preferred substrates for PHA production. Acidogenic fermentation of industrial wastewaters (cheese whey permeate and three pulp and paper mill effluents) was evaluated in batch and continuous experiments. From the batch experiments, it was found that for whey and one of the paper mill effluents nearly 100% of the soluble COD was readily fermentable. In continuous chemostat experiments with these two effluents, varying the retention time (RT) and pH of the reactors exhibited significant impact on the amount and composition of VFA produced. Increasing RT resulted in increased degrees of acidification up to a maximum of 0.93 g COD of VFA per g influent SCOD at RT 95 h for whey and 0.75 gCOD/gCOD at RT 24 h for the paper mill effluent. Main fermentation products were acetate, propionate and butyrate. Acetate production was rather insensitive to RT while above RT 10 h a shift from butyrate production to propionate production with increasing RT occurred for both effluents. Increasing pH from 5 to 6 resulted in increased amount of propionate. Based on these findings the possibility of regulating PHA monomer composition and associated polymer properties by controlling RT and pH during acidogenic pretreatment was discussed.
Journal: Biochemical Engineering Journal - Volume 40, Issue 3, 1 July 2008, Pages 492–499