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Westerholm M.,Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences | Moestedt J.,Tekniska verken i Linkoping AB publ. | Schnurer A.,Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Applied Energy | Year: 2016

Anaerobic degradation of protein-rich materials has high methane potential and produces nutrient-rich residue, but requires strategies to avoid ammonia inhibition. A well-adapted process can cope with substantially higher ammonia levels than an unadapted process and analyses of pathways for methanisation of acetate, combined with determination of microbial community structure, strongly indicate that this is due to a significant contribution of syntrophic acetate oxidation. The microorganisms involved in syntrophic acetate oxidation thus most likely occupy a unique niche and play an important role in methane formation. This review summarises current insight of syntrophic acetate oxidising microorganisms, their presence and the detection of novel species and relate these observations with operating conditions of the biogas processes in order to explore contributing factors for development of an ammonia-tolerant microbial community that efficiently degrades acetate through the syntrophic pathway. Besides high ammonia level, acetate concentration, temperature and methanogenic community structure are considered in this review as likely factors that shape and influence SAO-mediated microbial ecosystems. The main purpose of this review is to facilitate process optimisation through considering the activity and growth of this key microbial community. © 2016 The Authors

Malmborg J.,Tekniska verken i Linkoping AB publ. | Magner J.,IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute Ltd
Journal of Environmental Management | Year: 2015

The fate of pharmaceutical residues in treatment of WWTP sludge was evaluated during mesophilic anaerobic digestion (AD) and six sanitization technologies (pasteurization, thermal hydrolysis, advanced oxidation processes using Fenton's reaction, ammonia treatment, thermophilic dry digestion, and thermophilic anaerobic digestion). Sludge spiked with a selection of 13 substances was used and in total 23 substances were detected. A correlation between substance lipophilicity and sludge partitioning was found after sample centrifugation, with e.g., SSRI drugs (90-99%) and estrogens (96-98%) mainly found in the solid phase. A correlation between lipophilicity and persistence of pharmaceutical residues during AD was also detected, indicating that hydrophobic substances are less available to degrading microorganisms. Overall, AD was found to be the most effective technology in reducing a wide spectrum of organic substances (in average ca 30% reduction). Similar effects were obtained for both AD treatments, suggesting that temperature (mesophilic or thermophilic) is less important for micropollutant reduction. Advanced oxidation processes using Fenton's reaction also affected several compounds, including substances showing general stability over the range of treatments such as carbamazepine, propranolol, and sertraline. Pasteurization, ammonia treatment, and thermophilic dry digestion exhibited relatively modest reductions. Interestingly, only thermal hydrolysis efficiently removed the ecotoxicologically potent estrogenic compounds from the sludge. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.

Moestedt J.,Tekniska verken i Linkoping AB publ. | Moestedt J.,Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences | Nordell E.,Tekniska verken i Linkoping AB publ. | Schnurer A.,Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Journal of Biotechnology | Year: 2014

The effect of increasing organic loading rate (OLR) and simultaneously decreasing hydraulic retention time (HRT) during anaerobic digestion of sulphur- and nitrogen-rich thin stillage was investigated during operation of continuously stirred tank laboratory reactors at two different temperatures. The operating strategies and substrate were set in order to mimic an existing full-scale commercial biogas plant in Sweden. The reactors were operated for 554-570 days with a substrate mixture of thin stillage and milled grain, resulting in high ammonium concentrations (>4.5gL-1). Initially, one reactor was operated at 38°C, as in the full-scale plant, while in the experimental reactor the temperature was raised to 44°C. Both reactors were then subjected to increasing OLR (from 3.2 to 6.0gVSL-1d-1) and simultaneously decreasing HRT (from 45 to 24 days) to evaluate the effects of these operational strategies on process stability, hydrogen sulphide levels and microbial composition. The results showed that operation at 44°C was the most successful strategy, resulting in up to 22% higher methane yield compared with the mesophilic reactor, despite higher free ammonia concentration. Furthermore, kinetic studies revealed higher biogas production rate at 44°C compared with 38°C, while the level of hydrogen sulphide was not affected. Quantitative PCR analysis of the microbiological population showed that methanogenic archaea and syntrophic acetate-oxidising bacteria had responded to the new process temperature while sulphate-reducing bacteria were only marginally affected by the temperature-change. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.

Moestedt J.,Tekniska verken i Linkoping AB publ. | Moestedt J.,Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences | Nilsson Paledal S.,Tekniska verken i Linkoping AB publ. | Schnurer A.,Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Bioresource Technology | Year: 2013

This study evaluated the effects of operational parameters and type of substrate on the abundance of sulphate-reducing bacteria in 25 industrial biogas digesters using qPCR targeting the functional dissimilatory sulphite reductase gene. The aim was to find clues for operational strategies minimizing the production of H2S. The results showed that the operation, considering strategies evaluated, only had scarce effect on the abundance, varying between 105 and 107 gene copies per ml. However, high ammonia levels and increasing concentration of sulphate resulted in significantly lower and higher levels of sulphate-reducing bacteria, respectively. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

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