Polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) accumulating microbial enrichment was established on volatile fatty acids (VFAs) containing leachate derived from the organic fraction of municipal solid waste (OFMSW). The enrichment was based on a 12-h feast-famine batch cycle and an exchange ratio of 50% in which VFAs were completely consumed in less than 50 min during stable periods of operation. No pH control was applied in the system, and the pH went as high as 9 due to the presence of amongst others, ammonia [500 mg·L-1 total ammonia nitrogen (TAN) on average]. The degree of enrichment was evaluated with fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), and a yet unknown genus of large (3-5 μm diameter) beta-proteobacteria appeared dominant in the culture. A method for estimating the fraction of PHA accumulating active biomass in the total volatile suspended solids was established, and the results indicated an increase of this fraction from 25% to 56% after implementing two modifications in the operational protocol: (1) a pretreatment of the substrate removing virtually all settleable solids; and (2) a settling phase in the enrichment reactor after the feast phase, selectively removing nonsettleable solids and slowly degradable substrates. The PHA accumulation potential of the culture was 77±18 wt% PHA (n=3) after 3 h in batch accumulation experiments. The results suggest the potential feasibility of PHA production under conditions that were previously considered economically favorable but technically difficult.
|Number of pages||11|
|Journal||Journal of Environmental Engineering (United States)|
|Publication status||Published - 2020|