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Edina Klein ◽  
Janek Weiler ◽  
Michael Wagner ◽  
Minja Čelikić ◽  
Christof M. Niemeyer ◽  

Abstract Wastewater treatment using aerobic granular sludge has gained increasing interest due to its advantages compared to conventional activated sludge. The technology allows simultaneous removal of organic carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus in a single reactor system and is independent of space-intensive settling tanks. However, due to the microscale, an analysis of processes and microbial population along the radius of granules is challenging. Here, we introduce a model system for aerobic granular sludge on a small scale by using a machine-assisted microfluidic cultivation platform. With an implemented logic module that controls solenoid valves, we realized alternating oxic hunger and anoxic feeding phases for the biofilms growing within. Sampling during ongoing anoxic cultivation directly from the cultivation channel was achieved with a robotic sampling device. Analysis of the biofilms was conducted using optical coherence tomography, fluorescence in situ hybridization, and amplicon sequencing. Using this setup, it was possible to significantly enrich the percentage of polyphosphate-accumulating organisms (PAO) belonging to the family Rhodocyclaceae in the community compared to the starting inoculum. With the aid of this miniature model system, it is now possible to investigate the influence of a multitude of process parameters in a highly parallel way to understand and efficiently optimize aerobic granular sludge-based wastewater treatment systems.Key points• Development of a microfluidic model to study EBPR.• Feast-famine regime enriches polyphosphate-accumulating organisms (PAOs).• Microfluidics replace sequencing batch reactors for aerobic granular sludge research.

Toxics ◽  
2022 ◽  
Vol 10 (1) ◽  
pp. 37
Edoardo Dell’Armi ◽  
Marta Maria Rossi ◽  
Lucia Taverna ◽  
Marco Petrangeli Papini ◽  
Marco Zeppilli

Trichloroethylene (TCE) and more in general chlorinated aliphatic hydrocarbons (CAHs) can be removed from a contaminated matrix thanks to microorganisms able to perform the reductive dechlorination reaction (RD). Due to the lack of electron donors in the contaminated matrix, CAHs’ reductive dechlorination can be stimulated by fermentable organic substrates, which slowly release molecular hydrogen through their fermentation. In this paper, three different electron donors constituted by lactate, hydrogen, and a biocathode of a bioelectrochemical cell have been studied in TCE dechlorination batch experiments. The batch reactors evaluated in terms of reductive dechlorination rate and utilization efficiency of the electron donor reported that the bio-electrochemical system (BES) showed a lower RD rate with respect of lactate reactor (51 ± 9 µeq/d compared to 98 ± 4 µeq/d), while the direct utilization of molecular hydrogen gave a significantly lower RD rate (19 ± 8 µeq/d), due to hydrogen low solubility in liquid media. The study also gives a comparative evaluation of the different electron donors showing the capability of the bioelectrochemical system to reach comparable efficiencies with a fermentable substrate without the use of other chemicals, 10.7 ± 3.3% for BES with respect of 3.5 ± 0.2% for the lactate-fed batch reactor. This study shows the BES capability of being an alternative at classic remediation approaches.

2021 ◽  
Venkateshkumar R ◽  
Shanmugam S ◽  
Veerappan AR

Abstract Cow dung is generally used as the feedstock material for the anaerobic digestion to produce biogas. A selection of alternate biomass material is needed to reduce the consumption or to eliminate the use of cow dung. Recently, cottonseed hull has been considered as the primary substrate to produce biogas. In this paper, the effect of biogas production on anaerobic co-digestion of cow dung with pre-treated cottonseed hull using different concentrations of sulfuric acid, hydrochloric acid, hydrogen peroxide, and acetic acid is investigated. Sodium hydroxide and calcium hydroxide are used at different concentrations for pre-treatment of cottonseed hull. The enhancement of biogas production from the batch reactors at mesophilic temperature (35 ± 2 ℃) is observed for mono- and co-digestion of cow dung with treated cottonseed hull. Maximum biogas yield is achieved for the treated cottonseed hull at 6% sodium hydroxide during mono digestion and at 6% calcium hydroxide during co-digestion.

Catalysts ◽  
2021 ◽  
Vol 12 (1) ◽  
pp. 7
Ines Pottratz ◽  
Ines Müller ◽  
Christof Hamel

The production of prebiotics like galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS) on industrial scale is becoming more important due to increased demand. GOS are synthesized in batch reactors from bovine lactose using the cost intensive enzyme β-galactosidase (β-gal). Thus, the development of sustainable and more efficient production strategies, like enzyme immobilization in membrane reactors are a promising option. Activated methacrylatic monoliths were characterized as support for covalent immobilized β-gal to produce GOS. The macroporous monoliths act as immobilized pore-through-flow membrane reactors (PTFR) and reduce the influence of mass-transfer limitations by a dominating convective pore flow. Monolithic designs in the form of disks (0.34 mL) and for scale-up cylindric columns (1, 8 and 80 mL) in three different reactor operation configurations (semi-continuous, continuous and continuous with recirculation) were studied experimentally and compared to the free enzyme system. Kinetic data, immobilization efficiency, space-time-yield and long-term stability were determined for the immobilized enzyme. Furthermore, simulation studies were conducted to identify optimal operation conditions for further scale-up. Thus, the GOS yield could be increased by up to 60% in the immobilized PTFRs in semi-continuous operation compared to the free enzyme system. The enzyme activity and long-time stability was studied for more than nine months of intensive use.

Nitrogen ◽  
2021 ◽  
Vol 2 (4) ◽  
pp. 474-490
Roya Pishgar ◽  
John Albino Dominic ◽  
Joo Hwa Tay ◽  
Angus Chu

This study investigated structural changes in microbial community of biological nutrient removal (BNR) in response to changes in substrate composition (ammonium and phosphate), redox condition, and morphological characteristics (flocs to granules), with a focus on nitrification and phosphate removal. Analyzing treatment performance and 16S rRNA phylogenetic gene sequencing data suggested that heterotrophic nitrification (HN) and autotrophic nitrification (AN) potentially happened in aerobic organic-rich (HN_AS) and aerobic organic-deficient (AN_AS) activated sludge batch reactors, respectively. However, phosphate release and uptake were not observed under alternating anaerobic/aerobic regime. Phosphate release could not be induced even when anaerobic phase was extended, although Accumulibacter existed in the inoculum (5.1% of total bacteria). Some potential HN (e.g., Thauera, Acinetobacter, Flavobacterium), AN (e.g., Nitrosomonas (3.2%) and Nitrospira), and unconventional phosphate-accumulating organisms (PAOs) were identified. Putative HN bacteria (i.e., Thauera (29–36%) and Flavobacterium (18–25%)) were enriched in aerobic granular sludge (AGS) regardless of the granular reactor operation mode. Enrichment of HN organisms in the AGS was suspected to be mainly due to granulation, possibly due to the floc-forming ability of HN species. Thus, HN is likely to play a role in nitrogen removal in AGS reactors. This study is supposed to serve as a starting point for the investigation of the microbial communities of AS- and AGS-based BNR processes. It is recommended that the identified roles for the isolated bacteria are further investigated in future works.

Kacper Świechowski ◽  
Andrzej Białowiec ◽  
Bartosz Matyjewicz ◽  
Paweł Telega

The proof-of-the-concept of application of low-temperature food waste biochars for the anaerobic digestion (AD) of food waste (the same substrate) was tested. The concept assumes that residual heat from biogas utilization may be reused for biochar production. Four low-temperature biochars produced under two pyrolytic temperatures 300 °C and 400 °C and under atmospheric and 15 bars pressure with 60 minutes retention time were used. Additionally, the biochar produced during hydrothermal carbonization (HTC) was tested. The work studied the effect of a low biochar dose (0.05 gBC x gTSsubstrate-1, or 0.65 gBC x L-1) on AD batch reactors’ performance. The biochemical methane potential test took 21 days and the process kinetics using the first-order model were determined. The results showed that biochars obtained under 400°C with atmospheric pressure and under HTC conditions improve methane yield by 3.6%. It has been revealed that thermochemical pressure influences the electrical conductivity of biochars. The biomethane was produced with a rate (k) of 0.24 d-1, and the most effective biochars increased the biodegradability of FW to 81% in comparison to variants without biochars (75%).

2021 ◽  
Vol 13 (23) ◽  
pp. 13295
Benjamin Nachod ◽  
Emily Keller ◽  
Amro Hassanein ◽  
Stephanie Lansing

Bioplastics have emerged as a viable alternative to traditional petroleum-based plastic (PET). Three of the most common bioplastic polymers are polyhydroxybutyrate-valerate (PHBV), polylactide (PLA), and cellulose-based bioplastic (CBB). This study assessed biodegradation through anaerobic digestion (AD) of these three bioplastics and PET digested with food waste (FW) at mesophilic (35 °C) and thermophilic (55 °C) temperatures. The four plastic types were digested with FW in triplicate batch reactors. Additionally, two blank treatments (inoculum-only) and two PHBV treatments (with FW + inoculum and inoculum-only) were digested at 35 and 55 °C. The PHBV treatment without FW at 35 °C (PHBV-35) produced the most methane (CH4) normalized by the volatile solids (VS) of the bioplastics over the 104-day experimental period (271 mL CH4/g VS). Most bioplastics had more CH4 production than PET when normalized by digester volume or gram substrate added, with the PLA-FW-55 (5.80 m3 CH4/m3), PHBV-FW-55 (2.29 m3 CH4/m3), and PHBV-55 (4.05 m3 CH4/m3) having 848,275 and 561%, respectively, more CH4 production than the PET treatment. The scanning electron microscopy (SEM) showed full degradation of PHBV pellets after AD. The results show that when PHBV is used as bioplastic, it can be degraded with energy production through AD.

Polymers ◽  
2021 ◽  
Vol 13 (23) ◽  
pp. 4190
Simona Popa ◽  
Andra Tamas ◽  
Vasile Simulescu ◽  
Dorin Jurcau ◽  
Sorina Boran ◽  

Fatty acids esters have a wide application as bioplasticizers and biolubricants in different industries, obtained mainly in classic batch reactors, through an equilibrium complex reaction, that involves high temperatures, long reaction times, vigorously stirring, and much energy consumption. To overcome these shortcomings, we synthesized a series of fatty acid esters (soybean oil fatty acids being the acid components with various hydroxyl compounds) through novel low energy consumption technologies using a bubble column reactor, a microwave field reactor and for comparison meaning, a classic batch reactor. The obtained bioesters physicochemical properties were similar to one another, a good concordance among their rheological properties was obtained, but the energetic consumption is lower when using the bubble column or the microwave reactors instead of the classical batch reactor.

Francisco Cabrera ◽  
Álvaro Torres-Aravena ◽  
Fernanda Pinto-Ibieta ◽  
José Luis Campos ◽  
David Jeison

Production of polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) has generated great interest as building blocks for bioplastic production. Their production using mixed microbial cultures represents an interesting alternative, since it enables the use of organic wastes as a carbon source. Feast/famine strategy is a common way to promote selection of microorganisms with PHA accumulation capacity. However, when using waste sources, changes in substrate concentration are expected, that may affect performance and efficiency of the process. This study showed how the dissolved oxygen level can be used for online control of the cycle time, ensuring that the desired feast/famine ratio is effectively applied. An operation strategy is presented and validated, using sequential batch reactors fed with acetate as the carbon source. Production of polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB) was studied, which is the expected type of PHA to be synthetized when using acetate as substrate. Two reactors were operated by applying the proposed control strategy, to provide F/F ratios of 0.2 and 0.6, respectively. A third reactor was operated with a fixed cycle time, for comparison purposes. Results showed that the reactor that operated at an F/F ratio of 0.6 promoted higher biomass productivity and PHB content, as a result of a better use of available time, preventing unnecessary long famine times. The application of the tested strategy is a simple a reliable way to promote a better performance of feast/famine-based bioreactors involving mixed microbial cultures for PHB production.

Caryologia ◽  
2021 ◽  
Peter Firbas

Abstract  The aim of this study was to evaluate the cytotoxic and genotoxic potential of the wastewater (WW), the effectiveness of the treatment used by the wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) with sequential batch reactors (SBR) technology, and whether its final treated effluent (FTE) can compromise the water quality of the river at the location where it is discharged. We focused our research on six examples. For analytical chemistry and Allium metaphase (M) test all six samples were collected. Of these, three are so-called biotechnological patterns (WW, WW after mechanical step treatment and FTE), and three are natural riverine environmental patterns. For the micronucleus (MN) test, fish specimens were collected from three sites in the river Kamniška Bistrica. The first two sites locations are up and down the FTE outlet. Results from these areas were compared to the third site (not polluted) reference site, the so-called natural control group. Complementary study with analytical chemistry and biological tests shows that the treatment effect SBR in the Domžale–Kamnik central WWTP carried effectively proved to be efficient for the removal of the cytogenotoxic substances in treated effluent and  consequently in aquatic environment.

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