Microbial communities for valorizing biomass using the carboxylate platform to produce volatile fatty acids: A review.
Additional Document Info
The carboxylate platform employs a diverse microbial consortium of anaerobes in which the methanogens are inhibited. Nearly all biomass components are digested to a mixture of C1-C8 monocarboxylic acids and their corresponding salts. The methane-arrested anaerobic digestion proceeds readily without needing to sterilize biomass or equipment. It accepts a wide range of feedstocks (e.g., agricultural residues, municipal solid waste, sewage sludge, animal manure, food waste, algae, and energy crops), and produces high product yields. This review highlights several important aspects of the platform, including its thermodynamic underpinnings, influences of inoculum source and operating conditions on product formation, and downstream chemical processes that convert the carboxylates to hydrocarbon fuels and oxygenated chemicals. This review further establishes the carboxylate platform as a viable and economical route to industrial biomass utilization.