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Analysis of the Syntrophic Anaerobic Digestion of Volatile Fatty Acids Using Enriched Cultures in a Fixed-Bed Reactor

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Volatile fatty acids (VFAs) are key intermediates in anaerobic digestion. Enriched acetogenic and methanogenic cultures were used for the syntrophic anaerobic digestion of VFAs in a continuous fixed-bed reactor at mesophilic conditions. The interactive effects of propionic (HPr), butyric (HBu), and acetic (HAc) acids were analyzed. Furthermore, hydraulic retention time (HRT) and methanogen-to-acetogen ratios (M/As) were investigated as the key microbiological and operating variables of VFA anaerobic degradations. Experiments were carried out based on central composite design (CCD) and results were analyzed using response surface methodology (RSM). Effluent concentrations of HPr, HBu, HAc, and biogas production rate (BPR) were directly measured as responses. The optimum conditions were found to be HPr  =  1122.9 mg/L, HBu  =  1792.4 mg/L, HAc  =  1735.4 mg/L, HRT  =  21 hours, and M/A  =  2.4 (corresponding to the maximum VFA removal and BPR). The results of verification experiments and predicted values from fitted correlations were in close agreement at a 95% confidence interval.

Keywords: Acetogenesis reactions; acetogens; biofilm; mesophilic conditions; methanogenesis reactions; methanogens

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: May 1, 2012

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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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