Research trends and strategies for the improvement of anaerobic digestion of food waste in psychrophilic temperatures conditions

Heliyon. 2022 Oct 20;8(10):e11174. doi: 10.1016/j.heliyon.2022.e11174. eCollection 2022 Oct.


The organic fraction of municipal solid waste is mainly composed of food waste (FW), and traditional disposal practices for this fraction are generally considered to have negative environmental and economic impacts. However, the organic characteristics of this fraction could also be exploited through the anaerobic digestion of FW (FW-AD), which represents unique advantages, including the reduction of the area required for final disposal and environmental pollution and the same time the generation of renewable energy (mainly methane gas), and a by-product for agricultural use (digestate) due to its high nutrient content. Although approximately 88% of the world’s population resides in areas with temperatures below 8 °C, psychrophilic conditions (temperatures below 20 °C) have hardly been studied, while mesophilic (66%) and thermophilic (27%) ranges were found to be more common than psychrophilic FW-AD (7%). The latter condition could decrease microbial activity and organic matter removal, which could affect biogas production and even make AD unfeasible. To improve the efficiency of the psychrophilic FW-AD process, there are strategies such as: measurement of physical properties as particle size, rheological characteristics (viscosity, consistency index and substrate behavior index), density and humidity, bioaugmentation and co-digestion with other substrates, use of inocula with psychrophilic methanogenic communities, reactor heating and modification of reactor configurations. However, these variables have hardly been studied in the context of psychrophilic conditions and future research should focus on evaluating the influence of these variables on FW-AD under psychrophilic conditions. Through a bibliometric analysis, this paper has described and analyzed the FW-AD process, with a focus on the psychrophilic conditions (<20 °C) so as to identify advances and future research trends, as well as determine strategies toward improving the anaerobic process under low temperature conditions.

PMID:36340003 | PMC:PMC9626950 | DOI:10.1016/j.heliyon.2022.e11174


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