Optimization of micro-aeration intensity in acidogenic reactor of a two-phase anaerobic digester treating food waste

Suyun Xu, Ammaiyappan Selvam, Jonathan W C WONG*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

124 Citations (Scopus)


Micro-aeration is known to promote the activities of hydrolytic exo-enzymes and used as a strategy to improve the hydrolysis of particulate substrate. The effect of different micro-aeration rates, 0, 129, 258, and 387L-air/kg TS/d (denoted as LBR-AN, LBR-6h, LBR-3h and LBR-2h, respectively) on the solubilization of food waste was evaluated at 35°C in four leach bed reactors (LBR) coupled with methanogenic upflow anaerobic sludge blanket (UASB) reactor. Results indicate that the intensity of micro-aeration influenced the hydrolysis and methane yield. Adequate micro-aeration intensity in LBR-3h and LBR-2h significantly enhanced the carbohydrate and protein hydrolysis by 21-27% and 38-64% respectively. Due to the accelerated acidogenesis, more than 3-fold of acetic acid and butyric acid were produced in LBR-3h as compared to the anaerobic treatment LBR-AN resulting in the maximum methane yield of 0.27L CH4/g VSadded in the UASB. The performance of LBR-6h with inadequate aeration was similar to that of LBR-AN with a comparable hydrolysis degree. Nevertheless, higher aeration intensity in LBR-2h was also unfavorable for methane yield due to significant biomass generation and CO2 respiration of up to 18.5% and 32.8% of the total soluble hydrolysate, respectively. To conclude, appropriate micro-aeration rate can promote the hydrolysis of solid organic waste and methane yield without undesirable carbon loss and an aeration intensity of 258L-air/kg TS/d is recommended for acidogenic LBR treating food waste.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)363-369
Number of pages7
JournalWaste Management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2014

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Waste Management and Disposal

User-Defined Keywords

  • Acetic acid
  • Butyric acid
  • Methane production
  • Micro-aeration
  • Protein hydrolysis


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