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Biotechnol Appl Biochem. 1994 Aug;20 ( Pt 1):79-92.

Kinetic study of anaerobic digestion of fruit-processing wastewater in immobilized-cell bioreactors.

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Instituto de la Grasa y sus Derivados, Sevilla, Spain.


The kinetics of the anaerobic digestion of a fruit-processing wastewater [chemical oxygen demand (COD) = 5.1 g/l] were investigated. Laboratory experiments were carried out in bioreactors containing supports of different chemical composition and features, namely bentonite and zeolite (aluminum silicates), sepiolite and saponite (magnesium silicates) and polyurethane foam, to which the microorganisms responsible for the process adhered. The influence of the support medium on the kinetics was compared with a control digester with suspended biomass. Assuming the overall anaerobic digestion process conforms to first-order kinetics, the specific rate constant, K0, was determined for each of the experimental reactors. The average values obtained were: 0.080 h-1 (bentonite); 0.103 h-1 (zeolite); 0.180 h-1 (sepiolite); 0.198 h-1 (saponite); 0.131 h-1 (polyurethane); and 0.037 h-1 (control). The results indicate that the support used to immobilize the micro-organisms had a marked influence on the digestion process; the results were significant at the 95% confidence level. Methanogenic activity increased linearly with COD, with the saponite and sepiolite supports showing the highest values. The yield coefficient of methane was 270 ml of methane (under standard temperature and pressure conditions)/g of COD. The average elimination of COD was 89.5%.

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