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Bioresource Technology
Vol. 176, 2015; Pages: 8-14

Enhancing organic matter removal, biopolymer recovery and electricity generation from distillery wastewater by combining fungal fermentation and microbial fuel cell

S. Ghosh Ray, M.M. Ghangrekar

Research Centre, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Lethbridge, AB, Canada


For enhancing organic matter removal from cereal-based distillery stillage two-stage treatment consisting of fermentation by Aspergillus awamori followed by microbial fuel cell (MFC) is proposed. Considerable reduction in total and soluble chemical oxygen demand (COD) up to 70% and 40%, respectively, along with 98% reduction of suspended solids (SS) has been achieved during fungal pretreatment. The process generated chitosan, a useful fermentation byproduct from fungal mycelia, as 0.6–0.7 g/l of settled sludge with mycelium (3.8% solids). Prior treatment of wastewater with fungal strain enhanced the power generation in MFC by 2.9 times at an organic loading rate of 1.5 kg COD/m3 day, demonstrating soluble COD reduction of 92% in MFC. While treating distillery wastewater, this two-stage integrated biological process demonstrated overall 99% COD removal and almost complete removal of SS, delivering ample scope for scale-up and industrial application to offer effective solution for distillery wastewater treatment.

Keywords: Aspergillus awamori; Chitosan recovery; Distillery wastewater treatment; Fungal pretreatment; Microbial fuel cells



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