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Co-digestion of organic and mineral wastes for enhanced biogas production: Reactor performance and evolution of microbial community and function

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Burhan ShamuradORCiD, Emeritus Professor Neil GrayORCiD, Dr Evangelos Petropoulos, Shamas Tabraiz, Dr Kishor AcharyaORCiD, Marcos Quintela-Baluja, Dr Paul Sallis



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


Mineral wastes (MWs) from municipal solid waste incineration plants and construction demolition sites are rich in minerals, heavy metals and have acid neutralising capacity. This renders such MWs a promising source of bulk and trace elements to enhance and stabilize biogas production in anaerobic processes. However, finding a MW with typical heavy metal concentrations, which promotes anaerobic digestion (AD) without adverse effects on the microbial community of the reactor is of major importance. To investigate the impact of several MW additives (1. incineration bottom ash; 2. fly ash; 3. boiler ash; 4. cement-based waste) as AD co-substrates, six 5 L single stage mesophilic, continuously stirred tank reactors (CSTR) were setup. Two different feeding regimes were employed including: a) a liquid-recycled feeding method (LRFM); b) a draw-and-fill feeding method (DFFM). Under the LRFM regime, one gram MW per gram organic waste enhanced process stability (pH), increased methane production (25 - 45% increase), and yielded (450 – 520 mL CH4/g VS); DFFM enhanced digestibility to a lesser degree..Illumina HiSeq 16S rRNA community sequencing of reactors showed that the microbial community compositions were unaffected by the presence of MW additives in comparison to unamended controls, but MW amendment accelerated bacterial growth (determined by qPCR). In contrast, different feeding regimes altered the microbial communities; Methanoculleus (hydrogenotrophic) and Methanosaeta (acetoclastic) were the most abundant methanogenic genera in the LRFM reactors, 33 and the more metabolically versatile Methanosarcina genus dominated under DFFM.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Shamurad B, Gray N, Petropoulos E, Tabraiz S, Acharya K, Quintela-Baluja M, Sallis P

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Waste Management

Year: 2019

Volume: 87

Pages: 313-325

Print publication date: 15/03/2019

Online publication date: 13/02/2019

Acceptance date: 07/02/2019

Date deposited: 25/03/2019

ISSN (print): 0956-053X

ISSN (electronic): 1879-2456

Publisher: Elsevier


DOI: 10.1016/j.wasman.2019.02.021


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