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Improved Anaerobic Fermentation of Wheat Straw by Alkaline Pre-Treatment and Addition of Alkali-Tolerant Microorganisms

UFZ—Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, Department of Environmental Microbiology, (in cooperation with) Deutsches Biomasseforschungszentrum (DBFZ), Permoserstr. 15, 04318 Leipzig, Germany
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Academic Editor: Anthony Guiseppi-Elie
Bioengineering 2015, 2(2), 66-93; https://doi.org/10.3390/bioengineering2020066
Received: 19 December 2014 / Revised: 11 February 2015 / Accepted: 10 April 2015 / Published: 15 April 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microbial Ecology of Anaerobic Digestion)
The potential of two alkali-tolerant, lignocellulolytic environmental enrichment cultures to improve the anaerobic fermentation of Ca(OH)2-pre-treated wheat straw was studied. The biomethane potential of pre-treated straw was 36% higher than that of untreated straw. The bioaugmentation of pre-treated straw with the enrichment cultures did not enhance the methane yield, but accelerated the methane production during the first week. In acidogenic leach-bed fermenters, a 61% higher volatile fatty acid (VFA) production and a 112% higher gas production, mainly CO2, were observed when pre-treated instead of untreated straw was used. With one of the two enrichment cultures as the inoculum, instead of the standard inoculum, the VFA production increased by an additional 36% and the gas production by an additional 110%, again mainly CO2. Analysis of the microbial communities in the leach-bed processes revealed similar bacterial compositions in the fermenters with pre-treated straw, which developed independently of the used inoculum. It was suggested that the positive metabolic effects with the enrichment cultures observed in both systems were due to initial activities of the alkali-tolerant microorganisms tackling the alkaline conditions better than the standard inocula, whereas the latter dominated in the long term. View Full-Text
Keywords: lignocellulose; hydrolysis; volatile fatty acids; T-RFLP fingerprinting; Ca(OH)2; bioaugmentation; BMP; leach-bed reactor; anaerobic digestion; pre-treatment lignocellulose; hydrolysis; volatile fatty acids; T-RFLP fingerprinting; Ca(OH)2; bioaugmentation; BMP; leach-bed reactor; anaerobic digestion; pre-treatment
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Sträuber, H.; Bühligen, F.; Kleinsteuber, S.; Nikolausz, M.; Porsch, K. Improved Anaerobic Fermentation of Wheat Straw by Alkaline Pre-Treatment and Addition of Alkali-Tolerant Microorganisms. Bioengineering 2015, 2, 66-93.

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