Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 537777
Title Development of an effective chain elongation process from acidified food waste and ethanol into n-Caproate
Author(s) Roghair, Mark; Liu, Yuchen; Strik, David P.B.T.B.; Weusthuis, Ruud A.; Bruins, Marieke E.; Buisman, Cees J.N.
Source Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology 6 (2018). - ISSN 2296-4185
Department(s) Sub-department of Environmental Technology
Bioprocess Engineering
FBR Bioconversion
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2018
Keyword(s) Caproate - Chain elongation - Ethanol - Food waste - HRT - Sludge - Sodium hydroxide
Abstract Introduction: Medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs), such as n-caproate, are potential valuable platform chemicals. MCFAs can be produced from low-grade organic residues by anaerobic reactor microbiomes through two subsequent biological processes: hydrolysis combined with acidogenesis and chain elongation. Continuous chain elongation with organic residues becomes effective when the targeted MCFA(s) are produced at high concentrations and rates, while excessive ethanol oxidation and base consumption are limited. The objective of this study was to develop an effective continuous chain elongation process with hydrolyzed and acidified food waste and additional ethanol. Results: We fed acidified food waste (AFW) and ethanol to an anaerobic reactor while operating the reactor at long (4 d) and at short (1 d) hydraulic retention time (HRT). At long HRT, n-caproate was continuously produced (5.5 g/L/d) at an average concentration of 23.4 g/L. The highest n-caproate concentration was 25.7 g/L which is the highest reported n-caproate concentration in a chain elongation process to date. Compared to short HRT (7.1 g/L n-caproate at 5.6 g/L/d), long HRT resulted in 6.2 times less excessive ethanol oxidation. This led to a two times lower ethanol consumption and a two times lower base consumption per produced MCFA at long HRT compared to short HRT. Conclusions: Chain elongation from AFW and ethanol is more effective at long HRT than at short HRT not only because it results in a higher concentration of MCFAs but also because it leads to a more efficient use of ethanol and base. The HRT did not influence the n-caproate production rate. The obtained n-caproate concentration is more than twice as high as the maximum solubility of n-caproic acid in water which is beneficial for its separation from the fermentation broth. This study does not only set the record on the highest n-caproate concentration observed in a chain elongation process to date, it notably demonstrates that such high concentrations can be obtained from AFW under practical circumstances in a continuous process.
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