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Bioaugmentation for Anaerobic Digester Recovery after Organic Overload

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Anaerobic digester upset due to organic overload sometimes occurs and methods to reduce recovery time would be beneficial. One potential method is bioaugmentation, the addition of an external culture for performance improvement. A culture with an initial specific methanogenic activity (SMA) value of 10.65±0.36 mLCH4/gVSS-hr was enriched by feeding 0.17 g propionate/L-day under various micro-aerobic conditions. Enriching a culture for 25 mgO2/Lday increased its SMA by 29.7% in comparison to an anaerobic control, but higher oxygen doses yielded lower SMA values. Bioaugmenting organically overloaded digesters with this enrichment culture reduced the time required for digester effluent to decrease below 1000 mgSCOD/L by 114 days (11.4 solids retention time [SRTs]) and the time required to reach 25 mLCH4/day by 37 days (3.7 SRTs). Bioaugmented digesters consistently produced lower effluent SCOD and more methane than non-bioaugmented digesters. Bioaugmentation is a promising approach for speeding up recovery of organically overloaded digesters.
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Keywords: bioaugmentation; methane; organic overload; propionate; specific methanogenic activity

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2010-01-01

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