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Determination of bicarbonate and total volatile acid concentration in anaerobic digesters using a simple titration

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A simple, alkalimetric method is described that can be used to determine bicarbonate and total volatile fatty acid concentrations in anaerobic digesters by a two-stage sequential titration. The new method was evaluated by standard solutions of volatile fatty acids and bicarbonate over a pH 5.5 to 7.65 range. It was also used to determine the total volatile fatty acid and bicarbonate concentrations in effluent samples from five laboratory anaerobic digesters treating different types of waste. The average recovery of volatile fatty acids and bicarbonate by the new method from standard solutions was found to be 96%. The total volatile fatty acid concentration measured by the new method from the digester ceffluent samples coincided well with those measured by a chromatographer.

Keywords: alkalimetry; analysis; bicarbonate; digestion; fatty acid

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 1992

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  • Water Environment Research® (WER®) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

    Published as: Sewage Works Journal, 1928 - 1949; Sewage and Industrial Wastes, 1950 - 1959; Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 1959 - Oct 1989; Research Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, Nov 1989 - 1991; Water Environment Research, 1992 - present.
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