Rowena T. Romano, Ruihong Zhang, Sarah Teter, Jeffery A. McGarvey
Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, University of California, 2030 Bainer Hall, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616-5294, USA.
The effects of the addition of enzyme products containing cellulase, hemicellulase, and β-glucosidase to anaerobic digestion systems were studied using JoseTall Wheat Grass (wheat grass) as a model substrate. Anaerobic digestion tests were performed using batch reactors operated at 50 °C. The application of enzyme products in three digestion configurations were simulated and investigated: (1) enzyme addition to a single-stage digester, (2) pre-treatment of wheat grass with enzymes followed by a single-stage anaerobic digestion, and (3) enzyme addition to the first stage (hydrolysis and acidification) of a two-stage digestion system. The enzyme products showed positive effects on the solubilization of wheat grass when used alone to treat the wheat grass. However, no significant differences in biogas and methane yields, and volatile solids reduction resulted when the enzyme products were tested in the anaerobic digestion systems. This reveals that the microorganisms present in the inoculum were effective in carrying out the digestion of wheat grass. The types of microorganisms present in the inoculum were identified using 16S rRNA sequence analysis. A comparison of the sequences between the different inocula revealed that the prevalent operational taxonomic units were similar, but that the acidified inoculum contained a higher percentage of the species Thermotogae.