Anaerobic digestion of waste biomass from the production of L-cystine in suspended-growth bioreactors

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Waste biomass from the industrial production of the amino acid L-cystine contains above-average concentrations of organic pollutants and significant concentrations of nitrogen and sulfur. The specific biogas production (SBP) of waste biomass was monitored in parallel suspended-growth laboratory anaerobic bioreactors. After severe inhibition was observed, three different procedures were applied to inhibited reactor sludge to counter-attack the inhibitory effects of sulfides, respectively hydrogen sulfide: micro-aeration, dilution with water and precipitation by ferrous iron cations. The performance of bioreactors was weekly monitored. Organic loading rates (as chemical oxygen demand, COD) ranged from 1.07 to 1.97 g L−1 d−1. At the end of the experimentation, SBP averaged 217, 300 and 320 l kg−1 COD with a methane content of 21%, 52% and 54%; specific sludge production averaged 133, 111 and 400 g total solids kg−1 COD, and inhibition was 49%, 27% and 25%; for the applied procedures of micro-aeration, dilution and precipitation respectively.

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