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Biopolymers from Urban Organic Waste: Influence of the Solid Retention Time to Cycle Length Ratio in the Enrichment of a Mixed Microbial Culture (MMC)

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posted on 15.09.2020, 12:04 by Giulia Moretto, Laura Lorini, Paolo Pavan, Simona Crognale, Barbara Tonanzi, Simona Rossetti, Mauro Majone, Francesco Valentino
In this study, the performance of the selection process for polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) production from mixed microbial cultures (MMCs) at pilot scale was deeply investigated with the solid retention time (SRT) to cycle length (CL) ratio as main affecting parameter. Four different runs were tested by varying the SRT/CL ratio maintaining the same organic loading rate (OLR). The pilot-scale selection and accumulation reactors were fed with a fermented mixture of source-selected organic fraction of municipal solid waste (OFMSW) and waste activated sludge (WAS), refined with a centrifuge and membrane unit for the coarse solid removal. The selected biomass obtained in the most performing run was characterized by a specific storage rate of 375 mg CODP/g CODXa h and a storage yield of 0.46 CODP/CODSOL. Accumulations performed with the same biomass were characterized by a storage yield of 0.62 CODP/CODVFA. The microbiome composition was assessed. In the most performing run, putative PHA-storing bacteria affiliated with Paracoccus genus were found at high abundance (36.8%), in contrast to all other runs. An overall PHA yield of 110 g PHA/kg VS was estimated for the best scenario, revealing an interesting perspective for biorefinery technology chains based on the three-stage process for PHA production.

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