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Environ Pollut. 2017 Nov;230:81-86. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2017.06.042. Epub 2017 Jun 22.

Quantification and speciation of volatile fatty acids in the aqueous phase.

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Department of Environment and Energy, Sejong University, Seoul 05006, South Korea.
Advanced Technology Department, Land & Housing Institute, Daejeon 34047, South Korea.
Animal Environment Division, National Institute of Animal Science, Jeollabuk-do 55365, South Korea. Electronic address:
Department of Environment and Energy, Sejong University, Seoul 05006, South Korea. Electronic address:


This study lays great emphasis on establishing a reliable analytical platform to quantify and specify volatile fatty acids (VFAs) in the aqueous phase by derivatizing VFAs into their corresponding alkyl esters via thermally-induced rapid esterification (only 10 s reaction time). To this end, reaction conditions for the thermally-induced rapid esterification are optimized. A volumetric ratio of 0.5 at 400 °C for VFA/methanol is identified as the optimal reaction conditions to give ∼90% volatile fatty acid methyl ester (VFAME) yield. To maintain a high yield of VFAMEs, this study suggests that dilution of the sample to an optimum concentration (∼500 ppm for each VFA) is required. Derivatization of VFAs into VFAMEs via the thermally-induced rapid esterification is more reliable to quantify and specify VFAs in the aqueous phase than conventional colorimetric method.


Anaerobic digestion; Derivatization; Odour indicator; Porous material; Short-chain fatty acids

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