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TitleAnaerobic biodegradation of oleic and palmitic acids : evidence of mass transfer limitations caused by long chain fatty acid accumulation onto the anaerobic sludge
Author(s)Pereira, M. A.
Pires, O. C.
Mota, M.
Alves, M. M.
Methanogenic activity
Transport limitations
Issue date5-Oct-2005
JournalBiotechnology and Bioengineering
Citation"Biotechnology and bioengineering". ISSN 0006-3592. 92:1 (Oct. 2005) 15-23.
Abstract(s)Palmitic acid was the main long chain fatty acids (LCFA) that accumulated onto the anaerobic sludge when oleic acid was fed to an EGSB reactor. The conversion between oleic and palmitic acid was linked to the biological activity. When palmitic acid was fed to an EGSB reactor it represented also the main LCFA that accumulated onto the sludge. The way of palmitic acid accumulation was different in the oleic and in the palmitic acid fed reactors.Whenoleic acid was fed, the biomass-associated LCFA (83% as palmitic acid) were mainly adsorbed and entrapped in the sludge that became ‘‘encapsulated’’ by an LCFA layer. However, when palmitic acid was fed, the biomass-associated LCFA (the totality as palmitic acid) was mainly precipitated in white spots like precipitates in between the sludge, which remained ‘‘non-encapsulated.’’ The two sludges were compared in terms of the specific methanogenic activity (SMA) in the presence of acetate, propionate, butyrate, and H2CO2, before and after the mineralization of similar amounts of biomassassociated LCFA (4.6 and 5.2 g COD-LCFA/g of volatile suspended solids (VSS), for the oleic and palmitic acid fed sludge, respectively). The ‘‘non-encapsulated,’’ sludge exhibited a considerable initial methanogenic activity on all the tested substrates, with the single exception of butyrate. However, with the ‘‘encapsulated’’ sludge only methane production from ethanol andH2/CO2 was detected, after a lag phase of about 50 h. After mineralization of the biomass-associated LCFA, both sludges exhibited activities of similar order of magnitude in the presence of the same individual substrates and significantly higher than before. The results evidenced that LCFA accumulation onto the sludge can create a physical barrier and hinder the transfer of substrates and products, inducing a delay on the initial methane production. Whatever the mechanism, metabolic or physical, that is behind this inhibition, it is reversible, being eliminated after the depletion of the biomass-associated LCFA.
AccessOpen access
Appears in Collections:CEB - Publicações em Revistas/Séries Internacionais / Publications in International Journals/Series

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