Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2009, 6(8), 2288-2306; doi:10.3390/ijerph6082288
Article

13C-NMR Assessment of the Pattern of Organic Matter Transformation during Domestic Wastewater Treatment by Autothermal Aerobic Digestion (ATAD)

1 Department of Chemical and Environmental Sciences, Material and Surface Science Institute, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland 2 Centre for Sustainability, Sligo Institute of Technology, Sligo, Ireland
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 30 July 2009; Accepted: 15 August 2009 / Published: 19 August 2009
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodegradability and Environmental Sciences)
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Abstract: Abstract: The pattern of biodegradation and the chemical changes occurring in the macromolecular fraction of domestic sludge during autothermal thermophilic aerobic digestion (ATAD) was monitored and characterised via solid-state 13C-NMR CP-MAS. Major indexes such as aromaticity, hydrophobicity and alkyl/O-alkyl ratios calculated for the ATAD processed biosolids were compared by means of these values to corresponding indexes reported for sludges of different origin such as manures, soil organic matter and certain types of compost. Given that this is the first time that these techniques have been applied to ATAD sludge, the data indicates that long-chain aliphatics are easily utilized by the microbial populations as substrates for metabolic activities at all stages of aerobic digestion and serve as a key substrate for the temperature increase, which in turn results in sludge sterilization. The ATAD biosolids following treatment had a prevalence of O-alkyl domains, a low aromaticity index (10.4%) and an alkyl/O-alkyl ratio of 0.48 while the hydrophobicity index of the sludge decreased from 1.12 to 0.62 during the treatment. These results have important implications for the evolution of new ATAD modalities particularly in relation to dewatering and the future use of ATAD processed biosolids as a fertilizer, particularly with respect to hydrological impacts on the soil behaviour.
Keywords: autothermal thermophilic aerobic digestion (ATAD); 13C-NMR; biosolids; biodegradation; organic matter transformation

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MDPI and ACS Style

Piterina, A.V.; Barlett, J.; Pembroke, J. 13C-NMR Assessment of the Pattern of Organic Matter Transformation during Domestic Wastewater Treatment by Autothermal Aerobic Digestion (ATAD). Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2009, 6, 2288-2306.

AMA Style

Piterina AV, Barlett J, Pembroke J. 13C-NMR Assessment of the Pattern of Organic Matter Transformation during Domestic Wastewater Treatment by Autothermal Aerobic Digestion (ATAD). International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2009; 6(8):2288-2306.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Piterina, Anna V.; Barlett, John; Pembroke, J.Tony. 2009. "13C-NMR Assessment of the Pattern of Organic Matter Transformation during Domestic Wastewater Treatment by Autothermal Aerobic Digestion (ATAD)." Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 6, no. 8: 2288-2306.

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