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Journal of Cleaner Production
Volume 296, 2021, 126434

Enhanced methane production and energy potential from rice straw by employing microaerobic pretreatment via anaerobic digestion

Farrukh Raza Amina,b, Habiba Khalida, Wanwu Lia, Chang Chena, Guangqing Liua

College of Chemical Engineering, Beijing University of Chemical Technology, Beijing, 100029, China.


This study employs a microaerobic pretreatment that includes different microbial reagents combined with oxygen to enhance the energy conversion potential of rice straw (RS) via anaerobic digestion (AD) in a more cost-effective and time-efficient manner. Five broad varieties of microbial reagents including liquid consortium (LC), cow manure (CM), sheep dung (SD), biogas slurry (BS), and straw-decomposing consortia (SC), have been used as sources of useful microbes at varying oxygen concentrations of 0, 6, 12 and 24 mLO2/gVS to explore the effect of microaerobic pretreatment on RS degradation. The results showed that RS pretreated with SC had the highest cumulative methane yield (CMY) of 311.7 mL/gVS at 12 mLO2/gVS, followed by BS, CM, LC, and SD, with the CMYs of 270.5, 263.2, 257.1, and 256.7 mL/gVS at 6 mLO2/gVS, respectively. The RS pretreated with SC, BS, CM, LC, and SD led to improvements in the methane yield by 88.7%, 63.7%, 59.3%, 55.6%, and 55.4%, respectively, compared to the untreated RS. The microbial community analysis revealed that the relative abundance (RA) of Firmicutes, which are known to play a key role in accelerating the rate of hydrolysis, increased after microbial pretreatment combined with oxygen supply. The RA of Clostridium III, which facilitates cell wall degradation via hydrolytic pathways along with other sugar-fermenting bacteria, such as SaccharofermentansLutaonella, and Sedimentibacter, increased after AD in the digestate of pretreated RS compared to that in untreated RS. Moreover, a shift in acetoclastic and hydrogenotrophic archaea, including Methanothrix and Methanospirillum, was also observed, indicating precursor changes resulted by pretreatments and varied microbial metabolism, which might have enhanced the methane production process of RS. The energy potential analysis revealed that microbial pretreatment was a suitable technique for stimulating the energy conversion efficiency of RS. This study can be used as a reference for future utilization of a diverse range of lignocellulosic materials for clean energy production.

Keywords: Rice straw, Microbial reagents, Oxygen supply, 16S rDNA gene sequencing, Energy analysis.

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