Methods for improving the anaerobic digestion of glycerol (propane-1,2,3-triol) were investigated, particularly the effects of using acclimated sludge as seeding material during start-up. Glycerol was supplied to the anaerobic digester at an organic loading rate of 2.5 g-COD L−1 day−1. Four experimental runs were carried out with varying mixing ratios of acclimated sludge to unacclimated sludge (0, 10, 20, and 33%). Calculations were performed by employing a numerical model, whose parameters were determined by experimental measurements. Methane production rate (MPR) for all runs attained similar stable values around 21.4 mmol L−1 day−1, though more time was required for attaining stable state of methane production with lower mixing ratios of acclimated sludge. The initial MPR calculated was proportional to the mixing ratio of acclimated sludge. Furthermore, molecular biological methods showed that the types of microorganisms observed in all runs were similar. These results indicate that the seeding with different mixing ratios of acclimated sludge did not affect the microbial consortia in the anaerobic digestion approaching stable state, but did affect the cell density of the useful microorganisms at the start of methane fermentation. Consequently, it was confirmed that at a higher mixing ratio of acclimated sludge, the start of methane production became more vigorous.
Anaerobic digestion Methane fermentation Propane-1,2,3-triol Acclimation Numerical model
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We are grateful with Dr. Michiharu Abe and the members of Nakasaki laboratory for their constant support and comments. This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.
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