Effect of substituting organic fraction of municipal solid waste with fruit and vegetable wastes on anaerobic digestion

  • Ahmad Reza Salehiyoun
  • Mohammad SharifiEmail author
  • Francesco Di Maria
  • Hamid Zilouei
  • Mortaza Aghbashlo
Open Access


The potential of replacing fruit and vegetable wastes (FVW) as remarkable sources of environmentally offensive biomass in metropolises with organic fraction of municipal solid waste (OFMSW) on biogas production was investigated. Components of OFMSW as a source separated MSW were prepared in 5 categories of fat and protein, starch, cellulose, fruit, and vegetable waste. Experiments were carried out in four FVW/OFMSW replacement ratios (wet basis) of 0, 15, 30 and 45% at two total solid (TS) concentrations of 8% and 15% at 37 °C. Main results indicated that co-digestion is favorable at lower TS content (8% TS) and higher FVW/OFMSW ratios up to 30%. Although methane yield did not improve significantly for these substitution ratios, the concentration of methane in the biogas enhanced up to 68% and about 92% of volatile solids’ removal achieved. Kinetics study, based on lag phase of Gompetz model, indicated process rapidity increased proportionally to the FVW replacement ratios. Dedication up to 30% of feedstock capacity of ongoing OFMSW biogas plants in metropolises with FVW can suggest more revenue for plants through lowering HRT, increasing biodegradability of substrate, removing undesirable gas and supplying water needed for anaerobic digestion.


Organic fraction of municipal solid waste Fruit and vegetable wastes Waste composition Biomethane potential Kinetic study 


The increasing amounts of municipal solid waste (MSW) produced in urban population accompanied with the rising requirement for energy has brought about a growth in the popularity of waste to energy facilities as waste and energy solutions [1]. In addition, negative effects of MSW on the environment (such as soil, water and air pollution) besides poor MSW management impose risks to the public health [2]. Therefore, the art of MSW management is the environmentally friendly transformation of hazardous waste into economically and socially sustainable opportunities. Different technologies are used for the Organic Fraction of Municipal Solid Waste (OFMSW) treatment, based either on thermal (e.g. incineration) or, more frequently, biological processes including composting and anaerobic digestion [3]. In the last years a growing attentions was lead to anaerobic digestion (AD) as a suitable ways for treating the OFMSW able to return renewable energy and fuels, together with organic fertilizer. Particularly this strategy has preference for metropolises of developing countries because of huge availability to OFMSW resources and solving environmental problems. The amount of MSW generation in Iran has increased rapidly in the recent decades. Currently, Tehran metropolis generates 8500 t/day of MSW, which is about 1.1 kg/day per capita. More than 97% of Tehran’s solid waste is composted [4]. Only 300 tons per day is transferred to the Abali biogas plant. Therefore, there is still a huge potential for the construction of biogas plants in Iran.

Another relevant source of biodegradable waste in high density urban areas is represented by fruit and vegetable waste (FVW) generated by wholesale markets. The production of FVW imposes high current costs to executive responsible both in terms of sales losses and transportation to composting sites or landfills in developing country [5, 6]. In some FVW samples, the volatile solids’ content is more than 86–92% and the moisture content is 80–92% [7] what is the main reason for the offensive odor and high amount leachate production during the collection and transportation. In developing countries, a small part of such waste is recycled or recovered, and most of this waste is sent to the composting sites in combination with mechanically separated urban waste, which does not have the desired final quality as a feedstock for composting. The amount of FVW generation in Tehran is more than 600 ton/day based on sale information and considering 30% dissipation and waste. Utilization of FVW which is attributed to its high biodegradability and moisture in AD plants can help in maintaining the integrity of the environment and reducing risk to human health [8]. However, AD of FVW as a single substrate is a challenging task, because the high simple sugar content present in this feedstock often promotes fast acidification of digester, thus inhibiting methanogen activity [5].

In order to overcome the shortcoming of rapid acidification or other inhibition in AD, numerous strategies have been applied including co-digestion with other substrates. Co-digestion can supply macro and micro nutrient, balance C/N ratio, improve buffer capacity and process stability, dilute inhibitors, supply water to the process and increase biogas production with respect to mono-digestion [9]. Co-digestion of OFMSW with different other substrates such as sludge, slaughterhouse waste and manures was already investigated in literatures [10]. According to the results of research on codigestion of food waste and FVW, the appropriate proportion of FVW has been recommended between 40 and 50% [11], so it seems more than 45% FVW: OFMSW application would be facing risk of acidification inhibition. Also, co-digestion of municipal solid organic waste with melon residues revealed that an addition of melon waste at the rate of 300 g/kg OFMSW (30% w.w base) increased the biodegradation rate and biogas production compared to OFMSW alone [12]. Therefore, the positive effects of FVW as a co substrate can be considered.

The performance of the AD of biodegradable waste is extremely affected by its composition. Production and composition of OFMSW rely on geographic region, number of inhabitants and their social condition, predominant economic activities, mean living standard of the country, regional food habits, season and recollection system [3, 13]. All this can affect noticeably the performances of AD. Notably, there are limited reports in the published literature regarding the effect of substituting OFMSW with FVW on anaerobic digestion. Recently, a research has demonstrated synergetic effects of OFMSW and FVW co-digestion [14]. However, co digestion regarding OFMSW composition and seasonal changing can be more useful for management of co-substrate purveyance and optimally working in a biogas plant.

In the present study the performances of anaerobic digestion of OFMSW and changing its composition with FVW substitution were investigated. OFMSW samples were generated on the basis of statistical composition of household waste in Karaj, Iran, whereas FVW samples were withdrawn from full-scale wholesale market. Different FVW substitution ratios were investigated together with the evaluations of kinetics parameters of AD. Indeed, it was assumed if in a biogas plant with 100 tons per day treating OFMSW, up to 45% of feedstock be supplied from the outside, i.e. wholesale vegetable markets, what effects on biogas yield and biodegradability would be observed.

Materials and methods

OFMSW sampling and substrate preparation

The components of the OFMSW were prepared by recording the total waste of 5 households with average income in the city of Karaj, Iran with a population of 3 million. Recordings were fulfilled in two different seasons, winter (January and February) and summer (July) in 2017. Collecting points were explained to families and only household waste was delivered. After separating inorganic components such as glass, plastic, cardboard and metals, the organic fraction is divided into five general categories: fruit waste (pulp, shell and corn), vegetables (leaf and non-leaf or summer crop), starches (breads, cereals and pasta, rice, sweets, chips, etc.) protein and fat (dairy, chicken skin, cooked fish, meat, oil, bone, egg shell, etc.), cellulosic wastes, (such as tissue napkins, baby diapers, paper patches, tea waste, sunflower, walnut and pistachio shells that absorb a lot of moisture except cardboard and packs). Then, each part was crushed below 1 cm size by a crusher-blender and maintained at 4 °C until use.

FVW was collected from the central wholesale market of fruits and vegetables in Karaj, Iran, from large waste containers including 3 main categories of fruits, leafy vegetables, and non-leafy vegetables. The total daily FVW on that wholesale market was 40 tons. The total amount of leafy and non-leafy vegetables was determined approximately 70% and fruit dedicated 30% of the waste in the summer by inquiring expert sellers. A mixture of each group was randomly selected from several 1100 L containers, mixed, and then crushed.

Inoculum preparation

The inoculum was selected from the Tehran biogas plant (Abali). The digester was two stages mesophyllic wet system that processed mechanically separated OFMSW. After setting the concentration in the pre-enclosure, it was pumped to the first digester for the hydrolysis and acidification stage and then transmitted to the secondary digester for methanogenesis. Due to the need for a high-concentration inoculation for rising TS content of reactors, three types of primary, secondary, and stored thick digestate were selected and mixed at the ratio of 20, 40 and 40% based on wet weight. The TS of these digestates were 4.68, 4.64 and 12.79%, respectively. The inoculum was incubated for 2 weeks before the experiment.

Biomethane potential and experimental design

Experiments were carried out on the batch mode in 1-L glass reactors at 37 ± 1 °C in a water bath. The total loaded feedstock and inoculum was 650 g as a useful volume. The ratio of FVW to OFMSW began at 0% on wet basis and increased by steps of 15%, runs R1 = 0%, R2 = 15%, R3 = 30%, and R4 = 45% (Table 1). Each mixture was tested at 2 reactor concentrations in 8% TS and 15% TS. Although some mixtures tested in 25 TS%, the preliminary results showed that after a few days, production of biogas was stopped due to intensive acidification and pH fell down blow to 5.3. For 15 TS% tests, the concentration of TS in the inoculum and feedstock was increased [15]. The concentration of inoculum was increased by adding the dried inoculum at 70 °C and using the weighted average. The TS% of feedstock was also adjusted to 50% at 70 °C with the continuous weighing of samples in an oven dryer. The ratio of inoculum to feedstock (F/I) was set at 1:1 on VS basis [22, 45]. Deionized water was used for TS correction, if necessary. Before starting, each reactor was flushed with nitrogen gas for 1–2 min. The final VS % (based TS) in each reactor was calculated proportional to VS amount of each component, Eq. (1):
$${\text{VS}}_{t} = \frac{{\mathop \sum \nolimits_{0}^{n} {\text{VS}}_{i} \times {\text{TS}}_{i} \times m_{i} }}{{\mathop \sum \nolimits_{0}^{n} m_{i} \times {\text{TS}}_{i} }},$$
Table 1

Organic ingredient of the samples of OFMSW recorded at different times





Protein and fat


% of OFMSW























15% FVW








30% FVW








45% FVW








Data are reported as % on a wet weight basis

where VSt is final VS (based on TS) and VSi stands volatile solid content of each component.

The reactors were shaken manually once a day. Each treatment including blanks was performed in triplicate. Water displacement system with 3 M NaOH solution was used for the determination of the methane content (Fig. 1). Volumetric gas production was expressed in normal conditions (273 K, 1 bar). Given that the biogas composition changes day to day, the weighted average was used to calculate the average methane content [16]. Experiments were stopped when the gas production reached less than 1% increase on cumulative production [17].
Fig. 1

Schematic of the batch lab-scale reactors (a), measurement of volume of biogas (b), and gas scrubber for determining of methane content (c)

Analytical methods

The solid content was determined by placing wet specimens in an oven at 105 °C for 24 h [18]. The dried samples were then milled and burned to determine the VS% at 550 °C in a muffle furnace until it reached constant weight [18]. pH of feedstock and inoculum were measured using a portable pH meter (Milwaukee pH55, Australia). Total organic carbon (TOC) was determined in terms of TS% by wet dichromate oxidation method according to 5310 APHA standard [18]. Total Kjeldahl nitrogen (TKN) was analyzed using an auto Kjeldahl apparatus (Kjeltec 2100, Foss, Sweden) and consequently titration with 0.1 normal sulfuric acid according to ISO 1871 standard [19]. Alkalinity ratio was determined by a titration method at pH 4.4 and at 5.0, respectively [20]. A HACH Lange DR 3900 (Germany) spectrophotometer was used to measure total ammonium nitrogen (NH4-N) and total volatile fatty acids (TVFA). Digestate samples were centrifuged at 6000 rpm for 10 min and then filtered through 45 micron paper filter. Total volatile fatty acids equivalent to acetic acid (mg/L) and ammonium (mg/L) were measured by LCK 365 and LCK 303 cuvette number. The amount of VS removal as an effectiveness indicator of anaerobic digestion in converting the material and reducing its contamination was calculated based on total mass balances of VS in each reactor before and after the digestion test with subtracting the average VS content of blanks from that of the each test [16].

Statistical analysis and kinetics modeling

Analysis of variance (ANOVA) was carried out using SPSS18 software to find significant difference between the treatments in a completely randomized design (One factor ANOVA). Independent variables were TS% and feedstock mixture ratios (R1, R2, R3, and R4) and dependent variables were biomethane yield, methane content, and VS removal. The significant difference between results was considered when p value was lower 0.05 at a probability level of 5% (α = 0.05).

According to the application of the first-order model (FO), which is repeatedly used by researchers for easy biodigestible materials, the cumulative production of biomethane is exponentially increased to reach the final value according to the following equation [21]:
$$B = B_{0} \left( {1 - { \exp }\left( { - k \times t} \right)} \right),$$
where B is cumulative biomethane production (L/kg VS) at day t (day), B0 stands biomethane yield (L/kg VS), and k is the first-order model constant (1/day). Also, wastes with an initially low decomposition rate require a lag phase (λ) to trigger the activity of microorganisms that it should be considered in the model. In the modified Gompertz model (MG), biogas production is specified according to the following equation [21, 22]:
$$B = B_{0} \times { \exp }\left\{ { - { \exp }\left[ {\frac{{R_{ \text{max} } \times e}}{{B_{0} }}\left( {\lambda - t} \right) + 1} \right]} \right\},$$
where λ is lag phase (day), t is the time (days), Rmax is the maximum biomethane production rate per day (ml/g VS day), and e is the Euler’s number (2.7183).

Non-linear fitting was carried out by MATLAB software (2013a) (curve fitting toolbox) to fit both of first-order and modified Gompertz models. The model’s suitability was expressed by Root Mean Square Error (RMSE) and determination coefficient (R2).

Results and discussion

OFMSW composition and substrates characteristics

Table 1 reports the OFMSW composition for winter and summer periods. The summation of fruit and vegetable parts in the two seasons accounts for an average 66% of the total OFMSW. From the perspective, more than half of OFMSW comprises fruit and vegetable waste is consistent with results of other researchers [3, 23, 24]. Boni et al. [25] estimated the total amount of fruit and vegetable waste in dining hall garbage of 81%. The amount of only fruit waste in urban waste composition in China is 28%, which is equal to this research [26]. Campuzano and González-Martínez [27] concluded that the difference in researches of OFMSW depends on country change rather than city-to-city differences. In the winter, the amount of fruit fraction is double than vegetable waste, but this proportion is reversed in the summer due to more cultivation and consequently more consumption, especially in Iran. The total amount of fruit and vegetable in OFMSW in the summer was more than the winter shows noticeable seasonal changes.

The average amount of protein and fat fraction share in OFMSW was 6.2%, which is lower compared with other studies conducted on anaerobic digestion OFMSW with 7% [3], and 11% [28].

The characteristics of the synthetic OFMSW and three treatments with FVW replacement are presented in Table 2. The TS% of MSW in Tehran, Iran resulted higher, up to more than 27% [4]. This amount of solid content was close to synthetic source sorted OFMSW waste [15, 29]; However, it was lower than the average value of different country with 27.2% [27]. In general, the OFMSW sampled from a waste treatment site or composting plant has lower moisture content than the synthetic feedstock. The cellulosic waste part moisture content in this study was measured at more than 50%. The amount of VS% of OFMSW was 91.34%, which is close to the same research that composition of organic fraction of MSW was determined [3, 13, 27]. Increasing addition of FVW caused a decline in VS% that is attributed to attached soil to the stem and root of the vegetables.
Table 2

Characteristics of different mixtures of OFMSW and FVW


0% (R1)

15% (R2)

30% (R3)

45% (R4)


TS (%)






VS (%)






TS/VS (%)












TOC (g/kg TS)

419.9 (6.6)

381.2 (7.2)

396.2 (8.8)

409.4 (13.2)

TKN (g/kg TS)

19.00 (0.70)

19.34 (0.40)

20.81 (0.22)

20.93 (0.18)


22.10 (0.55)

19.71 (0.20)

19.04 (0.13)

19.56 (0.29)

Alkalinity ratio


*The values in parentheses are the standard deviation of each parameter

The C/N ratio of OFMSW was found to be 22.10. The average carbon and nitrogen content, based on the percentage of TS for OFMSW in literatures are 46% and 2.9% respectively (C/N of 16) [27]. Kjeldahl Nitrogen has more variance in the articles, which is related to the difference in composition of OFMSW in a country or how it is synthesized. The amount of nitrogen in the source separated organic waste is higher than mechanically sorted one. Nitrogen content (based on TS%) for source separated and mechanically sorted MSW was determined at 6.4 and 3.75, respectively [30], and for water sorted organic fraction of municipal solid waste was measured at 2.3 [31]. For all treatments of R1, R2, R3, and R4 C/N ratios were within proper range of 20–30 for anaerobic digestion [12, 32].

Biochemical methane potential (BMP) and biodegradability

Experimental runs indicated that at high TS concentration of the reactor, BMP decreased significantly (Table 3). The cumulative biomethane yield (LN/, as well as the daily methane production have shown for 8 and 15 TS% in Figs. 2, 3, respectively. The results of ANOVA analysis revealed that the interaction effects of TS% of BMP and co-substrate mixer have a significant effect on biomethane yield. However, for TS concentration of 8%, no significant difference was observed between treatments (p > 0.05). Nevertheless, R2 with 15% addition of FVW has a slightly higher yield of methane with a 385.7 LN/kg VS. The BMP value for R4 in this study (373.2) is close to the results of Pavi et al. (2017) for OFMSW: FVW of 1:1 (50%, w/w) with 350.6 LN/kgVS. The biomethane yield for OFMSW (R1) with 385.2 L/kgVS was close to the literatures, which has been taken in diverse researches for different countries, which have 415 L/kgVS [27]. In general, if the quota of food waste (especially protein waste) in OFMSW composition be higher than yard trimming and paper waste, more BMP will be obtained [22].
Table 3

Average biomethane yield, methane content, VS destruction and effective time of anaerobic digestion for different FVW addition to OFMSW


8% TS

15% TS

0% (R1)

15% (R2)

30% (R3)

45% (R4)

0% (R1)

15% (R2)

30% (R3)

45% (R4)

Temperature (C)









Organic Load (g VSadded)









Biomethane yield (L/kg VS)

385.2 (20.5)*

385.7 (5.0)

383.4 (17.1)

373.2 (4.4)

289.8 (2.2)

254.0 (5.8)

222.0 (10.7)

213.6 (10.4)

CH4 content (%)

66.77 (1.0)

67.96 (0.5)

68.28 (0.8)

68.06 (1.0)

58.8 (2.1)

59.1 (1.6)

59.4 (1.6)

64.1 (1.2)

VS removal (%)

87.49 (1.68)

87.87 (1.47)

89.65 (5.37)

95.23 (2.74)

84.72 (2.67)

87.36 (3.29)

85.70 (2.49)

91.83 (0.43)

T 90% (day)









*The values in parentheses are the standard deviation of each parameter

Fig. 2

Average cumulative methane yield (a) and daily biometan production (b) for 0, 15. 30, and 45% FVW addition to OFMSW at 8% TS

Fig. 3

Average cumulative methane yield (a) and daily biometan production (b) for 0, 15. 30 and 45% FVW addition to OFMSW at 15% TS

According to research on FVW, whether single-feedstock or codigestion, such wastes are susceptible to acidification of digester because of their easy digestibility [7]. Therefore, a start of decline was observed in more than 30% of FVW addition in BMP. The BMP values of FVW were reported in the range of 351 L/kgVS [33], 335 L/kgVS [34], 276 L/kgVS [14], 403.46 for VW, and 358.27 for fruit waste [35], which is less than the average worldwide value for OFMSW and its co-digestion. In this study, OFMSW was considered as the main feedstock that is more available on mechanical biological treatment plants than FVW. In codigestion of food waste and FVW, it has been proved that mono digestion of both feedstocks has less BMP than 20, 38, and 50% codigestion with food waste. The best results of biomethane yield obtained for about 38% FVW addition with 725 L/kgVS and more than 50% is prone to acidification [6] that is in line this research.

Considering that the interactions of TS% and the amount of FVW supplementation have been significant, these two factors affect simultaneously the deterioration of BMP. Although dry AD has its own advantages such as a smaller digester volume, methane yield and methane production rate (L/kgVS day) decrease with increasing TS% from the threshold defined (15–20) in the dry AD [36]. In fact, lower water content in the reactor results in a rapid accumulation of volatile fatty acids, especially for easily digestible feedstock that hinders the activity of methanogens bacteria [37]. On the other hand, the mobility and mass transfer of microorganisms in dry AD more than 15% TS are lower. For water sorted OFMSW, by increasing the reactor TS content from 11 to 16, the methane yield decreased from 314 to 273 L/kg VS, and VS removal from 41.8 to 26.1% [31], which is inconsistent with present results.

The effects of the reactor TS concentration and FVW: OFMSW substitution were significant on the VS removal of added feedstock, but the interaction effect was not significant (p > 0.05). Fruit and vegetable waste due to high water content and easily biodegradable compounds has a high VS conversion [33]. Therefore, the results were close to VS removal of FVW with 95% [7], 81.3% [33], 82% [38] and 82% for food waste [16]. Up to 30% (w w) addition of melon waste to OFMSW and a carbon to nitrogen (C/N) ratio of 15.9 caused better VS removal up to 57.2% [12]. On the other hand, in 8 TS%, a higher VS removal was observed due to the better mass transfer of microorganisms. It has been proved that the increasing of reactor organic load decreases VS removal due to the production of intermediate products such as VFAs [39].

The methane content of biogas has a significant difference at 8% and 15 TS% (P < 0.05), and in 8%, it was more than the same treatment at 15%. According to Table 3, co-digestion of OFMSW with FVW can improve biogas quality by increasing CH4% (v/v). Pavi et al. [14] reported an increase in methane content in the codigestion of OFMSW with 50% FVW addition from 76.5 to 80.8%. Also, By increasing the percentage of vegetable waste in food waste from 56.5 to 78.3%, the methane content increased from 52 to 57% [40].This can be interpreted by the C/N ratio [41], and a slight increase in the amount of TKN from treatment R1 to R4. The average methane content for OFMSW in the literature is about 60% [42]. This parameter did not change in co-digestion of corn stover and vegetable waste and was almost 63% [43].

The final values of volatile fatty acids, pH, and ammonium are shown in Table 4. No signs of inhibition were observed based on Table 4. At 8% TS, the amount of TVFA equivalent to acetic acid was between 370 and 520 mg/L, which shows final TVFA has reached stable levels. These values were close to the final VFAs in codigestion of OFMSW and FVW [14] and for water sorted OFMSW with 400 mg/L [31]. However, for fruit and vegetable waste AD obtained was 1150 mg/L [44]. Although, in 15% TS, TVFA increased somewhat, ranging from 925 to 1100 mg/L and the alkalinity ratio raised beyond 0.5 threshold mg/L, but acute inhibition and cessation did not occur due to the appropriate buffering capacity (0.37 with TAC of 10150 mg/L). Mono-digestion of FVW above 8 TS% encountered inhibition due to the accumulation of volatile fatty acids and the reduction of pH [7].
Table 4

Characteristics of the digestate at the end of batch tests


8% TS

15% TS

0% (R1)

15% (R2)

30% (R3)

45% (R4)

0% (R1)

15% (R2)

30% (R3)

45% (R4)










TVFA (mg/L)









TAN (mg/L)









Alkalinity ratio









Kinetic study and the effective time of AD

Results of the kinetic study and time of 90% production of biomethane (T90) are shown in Table 5. The effective digestion time or technical digestion time is an important parameter that provides primary information to estimate hydraulic retention time (HRT) for continuous anaerobic digestion [45]. At 8% TS, there is not much difference between mixture treatments, although R4 has lesser T90 (about 10.2 days). While in the 15% TS it is obviously visible in Fig. 3 that increasing of FVW replacement in mixture decreased the T90 from 13.7 to 10.4 days. This is due to the easily biodegradable compounds such as free sugars in FVW and their rapid conversion by microorganisms and consequently the promotion of their reproduction rate, which accelerates digestion of more complicated substances. In similar studies, Wang et al. [6] found that adding 38% FVW to food waste can reduce T80% from 25 to 16 days. El-Mashad and Zhang [16] found that approximately 90% and 95% of the final biogas potential could be obtained after 20 days for codigestion of unscreened cattle manure with 32% and 48% food waste. They proposed an approximately 20 days HRT for continuous anaerobic digestion. Dong et al. [31] proposed lower solid content has a preference to shorten the HRT of the AD and increases the biogas production from water sorted OFMSW. The technical digestion time (80%) of fruit waste and vegetable waste was observed in the range of 11–15 and 10–17 days, respectively with increasing S/I ratio from 0.43 to 2.33 [35]. Regarding Figs. 2 and 3, it is possible to anaerobically digest OFMSW in continuous mode with lesser HRT through addition of FVW.
Table 5

Kinetic study and time of 90% production of biomethane



R max


R2 (FO)


R2 (MG)


8% TS

































15% TS

































*The values in parentheses are the standard deviation of each parameter

According to Table 5, the results of curve fitting with MATLAB, modified Gompertz model has privilege than first-order model because of greater R2 (more than 0.990 versus maximum of 0.966 R2) and lower RMSE. The comparison of these two models for both 8 and 15 TS% is illustrated in Fig. 4. The highest k value was obtained for R4 in 8% TS with 0.185 as well as 15% TS with 0.159. By increasing k the rate of degradability of the feedstock increases, which is desirable for the AD [21]. Zhao et al. [21] by studying different parts of the waste from East Asian fruits including peels, seeds, shells, obtained the highest amount of k for pitaya peels (0.16) due to the higher carbohydrate content in this part of the fruit and the low lignin content than shell of seeds. Also, the biomethane production kinetics for FVW has revealed that 99% of the biogas is produced in less than 10 days, which is due to the easy digestibility of these wastes [33]. The preference of modified Gompertz model has been reported in other co digestion studies [12, 45].
Fig. 4

The cumulative methane yield and curve fitting results of the modified Gompertz and first order model for 15% FVW additon at 8% TS (a) and 15% TS (b)

The lower value of λ in the modified Gompertz model represents faster start-up and activation of microorganisms [21]. In this regard, there was some lag phase in 15 TS % than 8 TS %, which is likely due to lesser mass transfer between microorganisms and slight acidification. In general, it can be concluded that the addition of FVW reduces the required time of AD due to the presence of sugary and digestible compounds, provided that its share does not traverse beyond the optimal C/N ratio of the process.


Co-digestion of organic fraction of municipal solid waste (OFMSW) with fruit and vegetable waste (FVW) appears a suitable scenario for matching both environmental, energetic, and waste management goals for metropolises. The addition of FVW up to 30% caused to increase both the volatile solids removal and a cleaner bio-methane generable, although methane yield did not progress significantly. Furthermore, co-digestion with FVW resulted in acceleration of the biodegradation process. In term of biomethane yield, wet anaerobic digestion (8% TS) was preferred than dry one (15% TS). Also, the OFMSW composition in the winter and summer showed that most variations occur in fruit and vegetable part, so biogas plant staff should pay attention to quantity of FVW addition to OFMSW-based seasonal changes of composition. Substitution of feedstock of an ongoing OFMSW biogas plant up to 30% with FVW can ensure more revenue for plant through lowering HRT, increasing the biodegradability of substrate, removing undesirable gas, and supplying water needed for AD.



We acknowledge Mohammad Ali Salehiyoun and Ehsan Savand-Romi for sample procurement and Enrico Sogolini for technical assistance. The financial support provided by the University of Tehran, Iran is gratefully acknowledged.


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Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ahmad Reza Salehiyoun
    • 1
  • Mohammad Sharifi
    • 1
    Email author
  • Francesco Di Maria
    • 2
  • Hamid Zilouei
    • 3
  • Mortaza Aghbashlo
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Agricultural Machinery Engineering, Faculty of Agricultural Engineering and Technology, College of Agriculture and Natural ResourcesUniversity of TehranKarajIran
  2. 2.Department of EngineeringUniversity of PerugiaPerugiaItaly
  3. 3.Department of Chemical EngineeringIsfahan University of TechnologyIsfahanIran

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