Study of syntrophic anaerobic digestion of volatile fatty acids using enriched cultures at mesophilic conditions|
Amani, T.; Nosrati, M.; Mousavi, S.M. & Kermanshahi, R.K.
Volatile fatty acids are the most important intermediates in anaerobic digestion, and their degradations are extremely complicated thermodynamically. In this research, syntrophic anaerobic digestion of volatile fatty acids using enriched acetogenic and methanogenic cultures in a batch reactor at mesophilic conditions was investigated. Interactive effects of key microbiological and operating variables (propionic, butyric and acetic acids, retention time and methanogen to acetogen populations ratio) on the anaerobic degradation of volatile fatty acids were analyzed. Acetogenic and methanogenic anaerobes in the granular sludge from an up-flow anaerobic sludge blanket reactor were enriched at mesophilic conditions within a period of four weeks, separately. Enriched cultures were mixed with known proportions and then used in the bioreactor. Experiments were carried out based on central composite design and analyzed using response surface methodology. Four parameters (final concentrations of propionic, butyric and acetic acids and biogas production) were directly measured as response. Also, the optimum conditions for volatile fatty acid degradation were found to be 937.5 mg/L, 3275.5 mg/L, 2319.5 mg/L, 45 h and 2.2 proportions for propionic acid, butyric acid, acetic acid, retention time and methanogen to acetogen populations ratio, respectively (corresponding to maximum volatile fatty acid removal efficiencies and biogas production). The results of the verification experiment and the predicted values from the fitted correlations at the optimum conditions were in close agreement at a 95% confidence interval. The present study provides valuable information about the interrelations of quality and process parameters at different values of microbiological and operating variables.
Acetogens; Acetogenesis reactions; Methanogens; Methanogenesis reactions