Main content area

Characterisation of dissolved organic matter in fermentation industry effluents and comparison with model compounds

Cooper, Jeraz, Antony, Alice, Luiz, Audrey, Kavanagh, John, Razmjou, Amir, Chen, Vicki, Leslie, Greg
Chemosphere 2019 v.234 pp. 630-639
adsorption, biorefining, dissolved organic matter, effluents, ethanol production, fermentation industry, filtration, fluorescence, fluorescent dyes, fractionation, gel chromatography, humic acids, hydrophobicity, lignocellulose, melanoidins, models, moieties, molasses, molecular weight, oxidation, thermomechanical pulping, yeasts
Advanced organic characterisation methods were used to investigate the suitability of lab-based model compounds as surrogates to mimic the dissolved organic matter (DOM) of both first and second generation fermentation industry effluents. Comparisons to both humic acid and synthetic melanoidin revealed the limitations of using these model organic compounds in treatment studies of biorefinery effluent. Rapid resin fractionation (RRF) of effluent from yeast cultivated on molasses suggests that 64% of the dissolved organic matter is present in the form of very hydrophobic acid (VHPhoA) compounds. Molecular weight distribution by size exclusion chromatography (LC-OCND) and fluorophore specific intensity by fluorescence excitation and emission matrix (FEEM) of the yeast effluent was comparable to signatures from humic acid. This indicates that humic acid would be a suitable model compound for oxidation, adsorption and filtration studies. Differences among the fermentation industry effluents were found to be inherently dependent on both the biochemistry of yeast and processes used. RRF and FEEM spectra of effluent from bioethanol production on cellulosic feed highlighted a preponderance of neutral compounds with fluorophore specific intensity characteristic of non-humic compounds with a higher fraction of neutral compounds (41%) relative to VHPhoA (38%), SHPhoA (16%) and HPhi (5%) moieties. Findings were not consistent with commercial humics, synthetic melanoidins or other cellulosic and lignocellulosic based effluents from Kraft and Thermomechanical pulp mills since the actual pollutants are heavily dependent on the pre-treatment process. This suggests further work is required to develop a model compound for treatment studies of effluent from second generation bio-refineries.