Enhancing short-term ethanol-type fermentation of waste activated sludge by adding saccharomycetes and the implications for bioenergy and resource recovery

Xiaohu Dai , Linke Zheng , Ying Xu , Hui Geng


Received May 05, 2021,Revised , Accepted June 05, 2021, Available online June 25, 2021

Volume 34,2022,Pages 179-189

Ethanol-type sludge fermentation has recently attracted much attention because it can enhance direct interspecies electron transfer and thus improve the anaerobic digestion of waste activated sludge (WAS). In this paper, the enhancement of short-term ethanol-type fermentation of WAS via adding Saccharomyces was investigated. The experimental results show that the maximum ethanol production of 1030.8 ± 20.6 mg/L was achieved, with the optimum fermentation conditions of a pH of 5.1, temperature of 26.0 ℃ and time of 8.0 hr. Although the content of volatile fatty acid (VFA) increased within 10 hr, it is one order of magnitude lower than the content of ethanol, indicating that the VFA generation did not affect the efficient production of ethanol. The analyses of changes in the microbial community during the fermentation process demonstrate that the greatest Saccharomyces activity occurred in the first 8 hr and it can play an important role in ethanol production even at a very low relative abundance. Meanwhile, most typical acid-producing bacteria were inhibited, but the hydrogenotrophic methanogens (i.e., Methanobacterium) were enriched to a certain extent. Further statistical analyses reveal that the Rhodobacter, Thermomonas, Terrimonas and Saccharomyces are responsible for ethanol production during the fermentation. However, these findings not only provide a reference for the development of enhancing ethanol-type fermentation of sludge, but also are expected to provide a new way of thinking for the efficient bioenergy and resource recovery from sludge.

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