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Assessing the organic fraction of municipal solid wastes for the production of lactic acid

López-Gómez, J. Pablo, Latorre-Sánchez, Marcos, Unger, Peter, Schneider, Roland, Coll Lozano, Caterina, Venus, Joachim
Biochemical engineering journal 2019 v.150 pp. 107251
European Union, biotransformation, chemical composition, environmental impact, enzymatic hydrolysis, fermentation, glucose, hydrolysates, lactic acid, landfills, municipal solid waste, screening
With an estimated yearly production of about 140 Mt in the EU, conventionally, the organic fraction of municipal solid wastes (OFMSW) has been disposed in landfills with negative environmental effects. Nonetheless, the chemical composition of this residue make it a substrate with great bioconversion potential. In this study, OFMSW from Spanish municipal treatment plants, were evaluated for the production of LA. Samples were identified according to the sorting mechanisms employed for their collection in: (A) separately collected, (B) non-separately collected and (C) separately collected+paper/cardboard. Enzymatic hydrolysis was used to produce hydrolysates A, B and C accordingly. Hydrolysate A showed the highest total sugars and glucose content with values of 70 and 55 g·L−1, respectively. Following the characterisation, a screening showed that growth of B. coagulans was possible in all three hydrolysates. Furthermore, lab scale fermentations showed that LA final concentrations could reach around 60 g·L−1, with yields from total sugars of above 0.60 g·g−1. A technical scale fermentation of the hydrolysate A resulted in a final LA concentration of 60.7 g·L−1, a yield of 0.71 g·g−1 with a productivity of 2.68 g·L−1·h−1. Overall, it was estimated that 0.23 g of LA could be produced from one g of dry OFMSW.