Aerobic granular sludge has a number of advantages over conventional activated sludge flocs, such as cohesive and strong matrix, fast settling characteristic, high biomass retention and ability to withstand high organic loadings, all aspects leading towards a compact reactor system. Still there are very few studies on the strength of aerobic granules. A procedure that has been used previously for anaerobic granular sludge strength analysis was adapted and used in this study. A new coefficient was introduced, called a stability coefficient (S), to quantify the strength of the aerobic granules. Indicators were also developed based on the strength analysis results, in order to categorize aerobic granules into three levels of strength, i.e. very strong (very stable), strong (stable) and not strong (not stable). The results indicated that aerobic granules grown on acetate were stronger (high density: >150 g T SSL(-1) and low S value: 5%) than granules developed on sewage as influent. A lower value of S indicates a higher stability of the granules.
Intensive aeration for nitrification is a major energy consumer in sewage treatment plants (STPs). Low-dissolved-oxygen (low-DO) nitrification has the potential to lower the aeration demand. However, the applicability of low-DO nitrification in the tropical climate is not well-understood. In this study, the potential of low-DO nitrification in tropical setting was first examined using batch kinetic experiments. Subsequently, the performance of low-DO nitrification was investigated in a laboratory-scale sequential batch reactor (SBR) for 42 days using real tropical sewage. The batch kinetic experiments showed that the seed sludge has a relatively high oxygen affinity. Thus, the rate of nitrification was not significantly reduced at low DO concentrations (0.5 mg/L). During the operation of the low-DO nitrification SBR, 90% of NH4-N was removed. The active low-DO nitrification was mainly attributed to the limited biodegradable organics in the sewage. Fluorescence in-situ hybridisation and 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing revealed the nitrifiers were related to Nitrospira genus and Nitrosomonadaceae family. Phylogenetic analysis suggests 47% of the operational taxonomic units in Nitrospira genus are closely related to a comammox bacteria. This study has demonstrated active low-DO nitrification in tropical setting, which is a more sustainable process that could significantly reduce the energy footprint of STPs.
Simultaneous saccharification and fermentation (SSF) with delayed yeast extract feeding (DYEF) was conducted in a 2-L bioreactor equipped with in-situ recovery using a gas stripping in order to enhance biobutanol production from lignocellulosic biomass of oil palm empty fruit bunch (OPEFB). This study showed that 2.88 g/L of biobutanol has been produced from SSF with a similar yield of 0.23 g/g as compared to separate hydrolysis and fermentation (SHF). An increase of 42% of biobutanol concentration was observed when DYEF was introduced in the SSF at 39 h of fermentation operation. Biobutanol production was further enhanced up to 11% with a total improvement of 72% when in-situ recovery using a gas stripping was implemented to reduce the solvents inhibition in the bioreactor. In overall, DYEF and in-situ recovery were able to enhance biobutanol production in SSF.
Recycled paper mill effluent (RPME) contains high levels of organic and solid compounds, causing operational problems for anaerobic biological treatment. In this study, a unique modified anaerobic inclining-baffled reactor (MAI-BR) has been developed to treat RPME at various initial chemical oxygen demand (COD) concentrations (1000-4000 mg/L) and hydraulic retention times (HRTs) (3 and 1 day). The COD removal efficiency was decreased from 96 to 83% when the organic loading rate (OLR) was increased from 0.33 to 4 g/L day. Throughout the study, a maximum methane yield of 0.25 L CH4/g COD was obtained, while the pH fluctuated in the range of 5.8 to 7.8. The reactor performance was influenced by the development and distribution of the microbial communities. Based on the next-generation sequencing (NGS) analysis, the microbial community represented a variety of bacterial phyla with significant homology to Euryarchaeota (43.06%), Planctomycetes (24.68%), Proteobacteria (21.58%), Acidobacteria (4.12%), Chloroflexi (3.14%), Firmicutes (1.12%), Bacteroidetes (1.02%), and others (1.28%). The NGS analysis showed that the microbial community was dominated by Methanosaeta concilii and Candidatus Kuenenia stuttgartiensis. This can be supported by the presence of filamentous and spherical microbes of different sizes. Additionally, methanogenic and anaerobic ammonium oxidation (ANAMMOX) microorganisms coexisted in all compartments, and these contributed to the overall degradation of substances in the RPME. Graphical abstract ᅟ.
Biohydrogen production has received widespread attention from researchers in industry and academic fields. Response surface methodology (RSM) was applied to evaluate the effects of several key variables in anaerobic fermentation of glucose with Clostridium butyrium, and achieved the highest production rate and yield of hydrogen. Highest H2 yield of 2.02 mol H2/mol-glucose was achieved from 24 h bottle fermentation of glucose at 35 °C, while the composition of medium was (g/L): 15.66 glucose, 6.04 yeast extract, 4 tryptone, 3 K2HPO4, 3 KH2PO4, 0.05 L-cysteine, 0.05 MgSO4·7H2O, 0.1 MnSO4·H2O and 0.3 FeSO4·7H2O, which was very different from that for cell growth. Sugarcane bagasse and Jatropha hulls were selected as typical tropical biomass wastes to produce sugars via a two-step acid hydrolysis for hydrogen production. Under the optimized fermentation conditions, H2 yield (mol H2/mol-total reducing sugar) was 2.15 for glucose, 2.06 for bagasse hydrolysate and 1.95 for Jatropha hull hydrolysate in a 3L fermenter for 24 h at 35 °C, with H2 purity of 49.7-64.34%. The results provide useful information and basic data for practical use of tropical plant wastes to produce hydrogen.
The yeast strain Candida tropicalis was used for the biodegradation of gaseous toluene. Toluene was effectively treated by a liquid culture of C. tropicalis in a bubble-column bioreactor, and the toluene removal efficiency increased with decreasing gas flow rate. However, toluene mass transfer from the gas-to-liquid phase was a major limitation for the uptake of toluene by C. tropicalis. The toluene removal efficiency was enhanced when granular activated carbon (GAC) was added as a fluidized material. The GAC fluidized bioreactor demonstrated toluene removal efficiencies ranging from 50 to 82% when the inlet toluene loading was varied between 13.1 and 26.9 g/m(3)/h. The yield value of C. tropicalis ranged from 0.11 to 0.21 g-biomass/g-toluene, which was substantially lower than yield values for bacteria reported in the literature. The maximum elimination capacity determined in the GAC fluidized bioreactor was 172 g/m(3)/h at a toluene loading of 291 g/m(3)/h. Transient loading experiments revealed that approximately 50% of the toluene introduced was initially adsorbed onto the GAC during an increased loading period, and then slowly desorbed and became available to the yeast culture. Hence, the fluidized GAC mediated in improving the gas-to-liquid mass transfer of toluene, resulting in a high toluene removal capacity. Consequently, the GAC bubble-column bioreactor using the culture of C. tropicalis can be successfully applied for the removal of gaseous toluene.
Shrimps have been a popular raw material for the burgeoning marine and food industry contributing to increasing marine waste. Shrimp waste, which is rich in organic compounds is an abundant source of chitin, a natural polymer of N-acetyl-D-glucosamine (GluNac), a reducing sugar. For this respect, chitinase-producing fungi have been extensively studied as biocontrol agents. Locally isolated Trichoderma virens UKM1 was used in this study. The effect of agitation and aeration rates using colloidal chitin as control substrate in a 2-l stirred tank reactor gave the best agitation and aeration rates at 200 rpm and 0.33 vvm with 4.1 U/l per hour and 5.97 U/l per hour of maximum volumetric chitinase activity obtained, respectively. Microscopic observations showed shear sensitivity at higher agitation rate of the above system. The oxygen uptake rate during the highest chitinase productivity obtained using sun-dried ground shrimp waste of 1.74 mg of dissolved oxygen per gram of fungal biomass per hour at the kappaL a of 8.34 per hour.
Biological removal of carbon, nitrogen and sulfur is drawing increasing research interest in search for an efficient and cost-effective wastewater treatment. While extensive work on separate removal of nitrogen and sulfur is well documented, investigation on simultaneous denitrifying sulfide removal has only been reported recently. Most of the work on denitrifying sulfide removal has been focusing on bioreactor performance, loading and operating conditions. Nonetheless, underlying principles elucidating the biochemical reactions and the mechanisms of the microbial degradation are yet to be established. In addition, unstable denitrifying sulfide removal which is a major operating problem that hinders practical application of the process, is yet to be resolved. This paper provides a review on the state-of-the-art development of simultaneous biological removal of sulfur, nitrogen and carbon. Research on bioreactor operation and performance, reactor configurations, mechanisms and modeling work including the use of mass balance analysis and artificial neural networks is delineated. An in-depth discussion on the microbial community and functional consortium is also provided. Challenges and future work on simultaneous biological removal of nitrogen-sulfur-carbon are also outlined.
A study on liquid state bioconversion of sewage treatment plant (STP) sludge was assisted to evaluate the performance of batch fermenter compared to shake flask in a laboratory. Bioconversion of STP sludge was highly influenced by the mixed fungal culture of Penicillium corylophilum and Aspergillus niger after 4 days of treatment. The results showed that about 24.9 g kg(-1) dry sludge cake (DSC) was produced with enrichment of fungal biomass protein in fermenter while 20.1 g kg(-1) in shake flask after 4 days of fungal treatment. The effective biodegradation of STP sludge was recorded in both fermenter and shake flask experiment compared to control (uninnoculated sample). The results presented in this study revealed that the overall performance of fermenter in terms of sludge cake (biosolids) accumulation and biodegradation of STP sludge was higher than the shake flask.
Large volumes of untreated palm oil mill effluent (POME) pose threat to aquatic environment due to the presence of very high organic content. The present investigation involved two pilot-scale anaerobic expanded granular sludge bed (EGSB) reactors, continuously operated for 1 year to treat POME. Setting HRT at 9.8 d, the anaerobic EGSB reactors reduced COD from 71179 mg/L to 12341 mg/L and recycled half of sludge by a dissolved air flotation (DAF). The average effluent COD was 3587 mg/L with the consistent COD removal efficiency of 94.89%. Adding cationic polymer (PAM) dose of 30 mg/L to DAF unit and recycling its half of sludge caused granulation of anaerobic sludge. Bacilli and small coccid bacteria were the dominant microbial species of the reactor. The reactor produced 27.65 m(3) of biogas per m(3) of POME which was utilized for electricity generation.
Polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) recovery from aerobic granules was investigated using four cell digestion agents, namely, sodium hypochlorite, sodium hydroxide, acetone and sodium chloride. Simultaneously, the removal of extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) and its effect on PHA yield were investigated. The highest PHA recovery yield was obtained using sodium hypochlorite, accounting for 89% cell dry weight (CDW). The highest PHA was recovered after the sodium hypochlorite completely removed the EPS from the aerobic granules. The average molecular weight (Mw) of the PHA recovered using sodium hypochlorite was 5.31 × 10(5)g/mol with only 1.8% molecular weight degradation. The energy and duration analysis for PHA recovery revealed that the sodium hypochlorite method required the least amount of energy and time at 0.0561 MJ/g PHA and 26 h, respectively. The PHA that was recovered was a P3(HB-co-HV) co-polymer.
Previous studies have shown that enhanced biological phosphorus removal (EBPR) performance under continuous aerobic conditions always eventually deteriorates; however, the speed at which this happens depends on the carbon source supplied. The published data suggest that propionate is a better carbon source than acetate is for maintaining operational stability, although it is not clear why. A lab-scale sequencing batch reactor was run initially under conventional anaerobic/aerobic conditions with either acetate or propionate as the carbon source. Chemical and microbiological analyses revealed that both sources performed as expected for such systems. When continuous aerobic conditions were imposed on both these established communities, marked shifts of the "Candidatus Accumulibacter" clades were recorded for both carbon sources. Here, we discuss whether this shift could explain the prolonged EBPR stability observed with propionate.
Bacterial pigments are potential substitute of chemical photosensitizer for dye-sensitized solar cell (DSSC) due to its non-toxic property and cost-effective production from microbial fermentation. Serratia nematodiphila YO1 was isolated from waterfall in Malaysia and identified using 16S ribosomal RNA. Characterization of the red pigment produced by the bacteria has confirmed the pigment as prodigiosin. Prodigiosin was produced from the fermentation of the bacteria in the presence of different oil substrates. Palm oil exhibited the best performance of cell growth and equivalent prodigiosin yield compared to olive oil and peanut oil. Prodigiosin produced with palm oil supplementation was 93 mg/l compared to 7.8 mg/l produced without supplementation, which recorded 11.9 times improvement. Specific growth rate of the cells improved 1.4 times when palm oil was supplemented in the medium. The prodigiosin pigment produced showed comparable performance as a DSSC sensitizer by displaying an open circuit voltage of 336.1 mV and a maximum short circuit current of 0.098 mV/cm2. This study stands a novelty in proving that the production of prodigiosin is favorable in the presence of palm oil substrate with high saturated fat content, which has not been studied before. This is also among the first bacterial prodigiosin tested as photosensitizer for DSSC application.
Microbial electrolysis cells (MECs) are perceived as a potential and promising innovative biotechnological tool that can convert carbon-rich waste biomass or wastewater into hydrogen (H2) or other value-added chemicals. Undesired methane (CH4) producing H2 sinks, including methanogens, is a serious challenge faced by MECs to achieve high-rate H2 production. Methanogens can consume H2 to produce CH4 in MECs, which has led to a drop of H2 production efficiency, H2 production rate (HPR) and also a low percentage of H2 in the produced biogas. Organized inference related to the interactions of microbes and potential processes has assisted in understanding approaches and concepts for inhibiting the growth of methanogens and profitable scale up design. Thus, here in we review the current developments and also the improvements constituted for the reduction of microbial H2 losses to methanogens. Firstly, the greatest challenge in achieving practical applications of MECs; undesirable microorganisms (methanogens) growth and various studied techniques for eliminating and reducing methanogens activities in MECs were discussed. Additionally, this extensive review also considers prospects for stimulating future research that could help to achieve more information and would provide the focus and path towards MECs as well as their possibilities for simultaneously generating H2 and waste remediation.
Treatment of ammonia- and nitrate-rich wastewater, such as that generated in the aquaculture industry, is important to prevent environmental pollution. The anaerobic ammonium oxidation (anammox) process has been reported as a great alternative in reducing ammoniacal nitrogen concentration in aquaculture wastewater treatment compared to conventional treatment systems. This paper will highlight the impact of the anammox process on aquaculture wastewater, particularly in the regulation of ammonia and nitrogen compounds. The state of the art for anammox treatment systems is discussed in comparison to other available treatment methods. While the anammox process is viable for the treatment of aquaculture wastewater, the efficiency of nitrogen removal could be further improved through the proper use of anammox bacteria, operating conditions, and microbial diversity. In conclusion, a new model of the anammox process is proposed in this review.
Despite various research works on algal-bacterial aerobic granular sludge for wastewater treatment and resource recovery processes, limited information is available on its application in real wastewater treatment in terms of performance, microbial community variation and resource recovery. This study investigated the performance of algal-bacterial aerobic granular sludge on real low-strength wastewater treatment in addition to the characterization of microbial community and fatty acid compositions for biodiesel production. The results demonstrated 71% COD, 77% NH4+-N and 31% phosphate removal efficiencies, respectively. In addition, all the water parameters successfully met the effluent standard A, imposed by the Department of Environment (DOE) Malaysia. Core microbiome analyses revealed important microbial groups (i.e., Haliangium ochraceum, Burkholderiales and Chitinophagaceae) in bacterial community. Meanwhile the photosynthetic microorganisms, such as Oxyphotobacteria and Trebouxiophyceae dominated the algal-bacterial aerobic granular sludge, suggesting their important roles in granulation and wastewater treatment. Up to 12.51 mg/gSS lipid content was recovered from the granules. In addition, fatty acids composition showed high percetages of C16:0 and C18:0, demonstrating high feasibility to be used for biodiesel production application indicated by the cetane number, iodine value and oxidation stability properties.
The feasibility of using dried attached-growth biomass from the polyurethane (PU) foam cubes as a solid carbon source to enhance the denitrification process in the intermittently aerated moving bed sequencing batch reactor (IA-MBSBR) during the treatment of low COD/N containing wastewater was investigated. By packing the IA-MBSBR with 8% (v/v) of 8-mL PU foam cubes saturated with dried attached-growth biomass, total nitrogen removal efficiency of 80% could be achieved for 10 consecutive cycles of operation when the intermittent aeration strategy of consecutive 1 h of aeration followed by 2 h of non-aeration period during the REACT period of the IA-MBSBR was adopted. Negligible release of ammonium nitrogen (NH4(+)-N) and slow-release of COD from the dried biomass would ensure that the use of this solid carbon source would not further burden the treatment system. The slow-releasing COD was found to have no effect in promoting the assimilation process and would also allow the carbon source to be used for many cycles of operation. The 'carbon-spent' PU foam cubes could be reused by merely drying at 60 °C at the end of the operational mode. Thus, the dried attached-growth biomass formed on the PU foam cubes could be exploited as an alternative solid carbon source for the enhancement of denitrification process in the IA-MBSBR.
The impact of biological activated carbon (BAC), sand filtration (SF) and biological aerated filter (BAF) for removal of the selected organic micropollutants and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) from secondary effluent was studied. BAC led to greater removal of dissolved organic carbon (43%) than BAF (30%) which in turn was greater than SF (24%). All biological filtration systems could effectively remove most of the selected organic micropollutants, and there was a greater removal of these micropollutants by BAC (76-98%) than BAF (70-92%) or SF (68-90%). It was found that all treatment was effective for removal of the hydrophobic (log D > 3.2) and readily biodegradable organic micropollutants. The major mechanism for the removal of these molecules was biodegradation by the micro-organism and sorption by the biofilm. Compared to organic micropollutants removal, there was a lower removal of PFASs by all treatments, and BAF and SF had a considerably lower removal than BAC treatment. The better removal for all molecule types by BAC was due to additional adsorption capacity by the activated carbon. This study demonstrated that the BAC process was most effective in removing organic micropollutants present in the secondary effluent.
The biosynthesis of biomedical products including lipid and gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) by Cunninghamella bainieri 2A1 was studied in repeated batch fermentation. Three key process variables, namely, glucose concentration, ammonium tartrate concentration, and harvesting time, were optimized using response surface methodology. Repeated batch fermentation was carried out by the cultivation of Cunninghamella bainieri 2A1 in nitrogen-limited medium with various nitrogen concentration (1-4 g/L) and glucose concentration (20-40 g/L) at three time intervals (12 h, 24 h, and 48 h). Experimental results showed that the highest lipid concentration of 6.2 g/L and the highest GLA concentration of 0.4 g/L were obtained in optimum conditions, where 20.2 g/L glucose, 2.12 g/L ammonium tartrate, and 48 h harvesting time were utilized. Statistical results showed that the interaction between glucose and ammonium tartrate concentration had highly significant effects on lipid and GLA biosynthesis (P < 0.01). Moreover, harvesting time had a significant interaction effect with glucose and ammonium tartrate concentration on lipid production (P < 0.05).