Exploiting olive oil mill effluents as a renewable resource for production of biodegradable polymers through a combined anaerobic-aerobic process

M. Beccari, L. Bertin, Davide Dionisi, F. Fava, S. Lampis, A. Miccheli, G. Vallini, M. Villano

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92 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

BACKGROUND: The performance of a three-stage process for polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) bioproduction from olive oil mill effluents (OME) has been investigated. In the first anaerobic stage OME were fermented in a packed bed biofilm reactor into volatile fatty acids (VFAs). This VFA-rich effluent was fed to the second stage, operated in an aerobic sequencing batch reactor (SBR), to enrich mixed cultures able to store PHAs. Finally, the storage response of the selected consortia was exploited in the third aerobic stage, operated in batch conditions.

RESULTS: The anaerobic stage increased the VFA percentage in the OME from 18% to ∼32% of the overall chemical oxygen demand (COD). A biomass with high storage response was successfully enriched in the SBR fed with the fermented OME at an organic load rate of 8.5 gCOD L−1 d−1, with maximum storage rate and yield (146 mgCOD gCOD−1 h−1 and 0.36 COD COD−1, respectively) very similar to those obtained with a synthetic VFA mixture. By means of denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) analysis, different bacterial strains were identified during the two SBR runs: Lampropedia hyalina and Candidatus Meganema perideroedes, with the synthetic feed or the fermented OMEs, respectively. In the third stage, operated at increasing loads, the maximum concentration of the PHA produced increased linearly with the substrate fed. Moreover, about half of the stored PHAs were produced from substrates other than VFAs, mostly alcohols.

CONCLUSION: The results obtained indicate that the process is effective for simultaneous treatment of OME and their valorization as a renewable resource for PHA production. Copyright © 2009 Society of Chemical Industry
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)901-908
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Chemical Technology & Biotechnology
Volume84
Issue number6
Early online date9 Apr 2009
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2009

Keywords

  • polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs)
  • storage
  • olive mill effluents (OME)
  • VFA production
  • DGGE

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