Conversion of municipal solid waste to carboxylic acids using a mixed culture of mesophilic microorganisms. Academic Article uri icon


  • Waste biomass was anaerobically converted to carboxylate salts by using a mixed culture of acid-forming microorganisms. Municipal solid waste (MSW) was the energy source (carbohydrates) and sewage sludge (SS) was the nutrient source (minerals, metals, and vitamins). Four fermentors were arranged in series and solids and liquids were transferred countercurrently in opposite directions, which allows both high conversions and high product concentrations. Fresh biomass was added to Fermentor 1 (highest carboxylic acid concentration) and fresh media was added to Fermentor 4 (most digested biomass). All fermentations were performed at 40 degrees C. Calcium carbonate was added to the fermentors to neutralize the acids to their corresponding carboxylate salts. Iodoform was used to inhibit methane production and urea was added as a nitrogen source. Product concentrations were up to 25 g/L, with productivities up to 1.4 g total acid/(L liquid d). Mass balances with closure between 93% and 105% were obtained for all systems. Continuum particle distribution modeling (CPDM) was applied to correlate batch fermentation data to countercurrent fermentation data and predict product concentration over a wide range of solids loading rates and residence times. CPDM for lime-treated MSW/SS fermentation system predicted the experimental total acid concentration and conversion within 4% and 16% respectively.

published proceedings

  • Bioresour Technol

author list (cited authors)

  • Aiello-Mazzarri, C., Agbogbo, F. K., & Holtzapple, M. T.

citation count

  • 52

complete list of authors

  • Aiello-Mazzarri, Cateryna||Agbogbo, Frank K||Holtzapple, Mark T

publication date

  • January 2006