Moestedt J, Westerholm M, Isaksson S, Schnürer A
Bioengineering 7 (1) 3 [2019-12-23; online 2019-12-23]
Acetate production from food waste or sewage sludge was evaluated in four semi-continuous anaerobic digestion processes. To examine the importance of inoculum and substrate for acid production, two different inoculum sources (a wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) and a co-digestion plant treating food and industry waste) and two common substrates (sewage sludge and food waste) were used in process operations. The processes were evaluated with regard to the efficiency of hydrolysis, acidogenesis, acetogenesis, and methanogenesis and the microbial community structure was determined. Feeding sewage sludge led to mixed acid fermentation and low total acid yield, whereas feeding food waste resulted in the production of high acetate and lactate yields. Inoculum from WWTP with sewage sludge substrate resulted in maintained methane production, despite a low hydraulic retention time. For food waste, the process using inoculum from WWTP produced high levels of lactate (30 g/L) and acetate (10 g/L), while the process initiated with inoculum from the co-digestion plant had higher acetate (25 g/L) and lower lactate (15 g/L) levels. The microbial communities developed during acid production consisted of the major genera Lactobacillus (92-100%) with food waste substrate, and Roseburia (44-45%) and Fastidiosipila (16-36%) with sewage sludge substrate. Use of the outgoing material (hydrolysates) in a biogas production system resulted in a non-significant increase in bio-methane production (+5-20%) compared with direct biogas production from food waste and sewage sludge.