Build-up and impact of volatile fatty acids on E. coli and A. lumbricoides during co-digestion of urine diverting dehydrating toilet (UDDT-F) faeces

Joy Riungu*, Mariska Ronteltap, Jules B. van Lier

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
32 Downloads (Pure)


This study examined the potential of Escherichia coli (E. coli) and Ascaris lumbricoides (A. lumbricoides) eggs inactivation in faecal matter coming from urine diverting dehydrating toilets (UDDT-F) by applying high concentrations of volatile fatty acids (VFAs) during anaerobic stabilization. The impact of individual VFAs on E. coli and A. lumbricoides eggs inactivation in UDDT-F was assessed by applying various concentrations of store-bought acetate, propionate and butyrate. High VFA concentrations were also obtained by performing co-digestion of UDDT-F with organic market waste (OMW) using various mixing ratios. All experiments were performed under anaerobic conditions in laboratory scale batch assays at 35±1 °C. A correlation was observed between E. coli log inactivation and VFA concentration. Store bought VFA spiked UDDT-F substrates achieved E. coli inactivation up to 4.7 log units/day compared to UDDT-F control sample that achieved 0.6 log units/day. In co-digesting UDDT-F and organic market waste (OMW), a ND-VFA concentration of 4800–6000 mg/L was needed to achieve E. coli log inactivation to below detectable levels and complete A. lumbricoides egg inactivation in less than four days. E. coli and A. lumbricoides egg inactivation was found to be related to the concentration of non-dissociated VFA (ND-VFA), increasing with an increase in the OMW fraction in the feed substrate. Highest ND-VFA concentration of 6500 mg/L was obtained at a UDDT-F:OMW ratio 1:1, below which there was a decline, attributed to product inhibition of acidogenic bacteria. Results of our present research showed the potential for E. coli and A. lumbricoides inactivation from UDDT-F up to WHO standards by allowing VFA build-up during anaerobic stabilization of faecal matter.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-31
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • Anaerobic co digestion
  • E.coli inactivation
  • Non-dissociated volatile fatty acids
  • UDDT faeces


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