Fibreboard production is one of the most important industrial activities in Galicia (Spain). Great amounts of wastewater are generated, with properties depending on the type of wood, treatment process, final product and water reusing, among others. These effluents are characterized by a high chemical oxygen demand, low pH and nutrients limitation. Although anaerobic digestion is one of the most suitable processes for the treatment, lately bioplastics production (mainly polyhydroxyalkanoates) from wastewaters with mixed cultures is being evaluated. Substrate requirements for these processes consist of high organic matter content and low nutrient concentration. Therefore, wood mill effluents could be a suitable feedstock. In this work, the possibility of producing bioplastics from to wood mill effluents is evaluated. First, wood mill effluent was converted to volatile fatty acids in an acidogenic reactor operated at two different hydraulic retention times of 1 and 1.5 d. The acidification percentage obtained was 37% and 42%, respectively. Then, aerobic batch assays were performed using fermented wood mill effluents obtained at different hydraulic retention times. Assays were developed using different cultures as inoculums. The maximum storage yield of 0.57 Cmmol/Cmmol was obtained when when the culture was enriched on a synthetic media.
Keywords: acidogenic fermentation, bioplastics, polyhydroxyalkanoates, sequencing batch reactor, volatile fatty acids, wood mill effluent