One of primary issues in the coffee manufacturing industry is the production of large amounts of undesirable residues, which include the pericarp (outer skin), pulp (outer mesocarp), parchment (endocarp), silver-skin (epidermis) and mucilage (inner mesocarp) that cause environmental problems due to toxic molecules contained therein. This study evaluated the optimal hydrogen production from coffee mucilage combined with organic wastes (wholesale market garbage) in a dark fermentation process. The supplementation of organic wastes offered appropriate carbon and nitrogen sources with further nutrients; it was positively effective in achieving cumulative hydrogen production. Three different ratios of coffee mucilage and organic wastes (8:2, 5:5, and 2:8) were tested in 30 L bioreactors using two-level factorial design experiments. The highest cumulative hydrogen volume of 25.9 L was gained for an 8:2 ratio (coffee mucilage: organic wastes) after 72 h, which corresponded to 1.295 L hydrogen/L substrates (0.248 mol hydrogen/mol hexose). Biochemical identification of microorganisms found that seven microorganisms were involved in the hydrogen metabolism. Further studies of anaerobic fermentative digestion with each isolated pure bacterium under similar experimental conditions reached a lower final hydrogen yield (up to 9.3 L) than the result from the non-isolated sample (25.9 L). Interestingly, however, co-cultivation of two identified microorganisms (Kocuria kristinae
and Brevibacillus laterosporus
), who were relatively highly associated with hydrogen production, gave a higher yield (14.7 L) than single bacterium inoculum but lower than that of the non-isolated tests. This work confirms that the re-utilization of coffee mucilage combined with organic wastes is practical for hydrogen fermentation in anaerobic conditions, and it would be influenced by the bacterial consortium involved.
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