Microbial electrochemical monitoring of volatile fatty acids during anaerobic digestion

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    Due to increasing environmental concerns of using fossil fuels and decreasing in their reserves, the promotion of renewable energy technologies is crucial. Anaerobic digestion (AD), a well-developed technology converting organic waste into biogas, is gaining increased attention in recent years. Bioelectrochemical systems (e.g. MFC, MDC, MEC et al.) which transfer chemical energy to electricity by degrading organic waste have attracted great interest due to their environmental friendly and sustainability. In this study, to control and optimize AD process, a smart bioelectrochemical system (microbial desalination cell, MDC) was built to realize the on-line measuring the concentration of volatile fatty acid (VFA). The correlation between current densities of the biosensor and VFA concentrations was firstly evaluated with synthetic digestate. Two linear relationships were observed between current densities and VFA levels from 1 mM to 200 mM. The detection range was much broader than that of other existing VFA biosensors. The MDC biosensor had no response to protein and lipid which are frequently found along with VFAs in the organic waste streams from AD, suggesting the selective detection of VFAs. The current displayed different responses to VFA levels when different ionic strengths and external resistances were applied, though linear relationships were always observed. Finally, the biosensor was further explored with real AD effluents and the results did not show significance differences with those measured by GC. The simple MDC-based biosensor showed promising potential for online, inexpensive and reliable measurement of VFA levels. The outcomes offer a powerful tool for cost-effective monitoring and optimization of AD process and expand the application of bioelectrochemical system.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationDTU Sustain Conference 2015 : Book of Abstracts
    Number of pages1
    Place of PublicationKgs. Lyngby
    PublisherTechnical University of Denmark
    Publication date2015
    Publication statusPublished - 2015
    EventDTU Sustain Conference 2015 - DTU, Lyngby, Denmark
    Duration: 17 Dec 201517 Dec 2015


    ConferenceDTU Sustain Conference 2015
    Internet address


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