Volatile fatty acids (VFAs) and methane from food waste and cow slurry: Comparison of biogas and VFA fermentation processes
Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift, 2019

The potential of various biomasses for the production of green chemicals is currently one of the key topics in the field of the circular economy. Volatile fatty acids (VFAs) are intermediates in the methane formation pathway of anaerobic digestion and they can be produced in similar reactors as biogas to increase the productivity of a digestion plant, as VFAs have more varying end uses compared to biogas and methane. In this study, the aim was to assess the biogas and VFA production of food waste (FW) and cow slurry (CS) using the anaerobic biogas plant inoculum treating the corresponding substrates. The biogas and VFA production of both biomasses were studied in identical batch scale laboratory conditions while the process performance was assessed with chemical and microbial analyses. As a result, FW and CS were shown to have different chemical performances and microbial dynamics in both VFA and biogas processes. FW as a substrate showed higher yields in both processes (435 ml CH 4 /g VS fed and 434 mg VFA/g VS fed ) due to its characteristics (pH, organic composition, microbial communities), and thus, the vast volume of CS makes it also a relevant substrate for VFA and biogas production. In this study, VFA profiles were highly dependent on the substrate and inoculum characteristics, while orders Clostridiales and Lactobacillales were connected with high VFA and butyric acid production with FW as a substrate. In conclusion, anaerobic digestion supports the implementation of the waste management hierarchy as it enables the production of renewable green chemicals from both urban and rural waste materials.

volatile fatty acid fermentation

volatile fatty acid


food waste


anaerobic digestion

cow slurry

microbial diversity


Elina Tampio

Chalmers, Biologi och bioteknik, Industriell bioteknik

Naturresursinstitutet (Luke)

Lucia Blasco

Naturresursinstitutet (Luke)

Markku M. Vainio

Naturresursinstitutet (Luke)

Minna M. Kahala

Naturresursinstitutet (Luke)

Saija E. Rasi

Naturresursinstitutet (Luke)

GCB Bioenergy

1757-1693 (ISSN) 1757-1707 (eISSN)

Vol. 11 1 72-84


Förnyelsebar bioenergi

Kemiska processer




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