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Bioresource Technology
Volume 268, 2018, Pages 549-557

Efficient production of short-chain fatty acids from anaerobic fermentation of liquor wastewater and waste activated sludge by breaking the restrictions of low bioavailable substrates and microbial activity

Jingyang Luoa,b, Jing Wua,b, Qin Zhanga,b,c, Qian Fenga,b, Lijuan Wud, Jiashun Caoa,b, Chao Lia,b, Fang Fanga,b

Key Laboratory of Integrated Regulation and Resource Development on Shallow Lakes, Ministry of Education, Hohai University, Nanjing 210098, China.


An efficient approach of bioconverting the organic wastes in liquor wastewater (LW) and waste activated sludge (WAS) to valuable short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) via anaerobic fermentation was explored. The maximal SCFAs concentration was 5400 mg COD/L with approximate 80.0% acetic and propionic acids under optimized conditions (LW/WAS ratio 1:1, pH 8 and fermentation 4 d). Mechanisms investigation found that the fermentation of LW/WAS made up the drawbacks of sole WAS fermentation by improving the bioavailable substrates and low C/N ratio to stimulate the microbial activities. The bioconversion efficiency of substrates for SCFAs generation was therefore enhanced. The humic acids present in LW could also play positive roles in SCFAs promotion. Moreover, the performance of LW/WAS fermentation was highly correlated with appropriate fermentation pH. The fermentative bacteria responsible for SCFAs production were highly enriched and the activities of key hydrolases, acid-forming enzymes and ATP concentration were greatly improved at pH 8.

Graphical abstract

Keywords: Liquor wastewater (LW), Waste activated sludge (WAS), Short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), Anaerobic fermentation, C/N ratio, Microbial activities.

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