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Role of Protein, Amino Acids, and Enzyme Activity on Odor Production from Anaerobically Digested and Dewatered Biosolids

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The main objective of this research was to test the hypothesis that bioavailable protein and, more specifically, the sulfur-containing amino acids within the protein, can be degraded by proteolytic enzymes to produce odor-causing compounds—mainly volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs)—during biosolids storage. To achieve these objectives, samples of digester effluent and cake solids were collected at 11 different wastewater treatment plants in North America, and the samples were analyzed for protein and amino acid content and general protein-degrading enzyme activity. At the same time, cake samples were stored using headspace bottles, the concentration of VSCs were measured using gas chromatography, and olfactometry measurements were made by a trained odor panel. The results showed that the bound cake protein content and methionine content was well-correlated with VSC production and the detection threshold measured by the odor panel.

Keywords: amino acids; anaerobic digestion; biosolids; dewatering; odor; protein; volatile sulfur compounds

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: February 1, 2008

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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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