Food waste as a resource: grinding, dilution, and storage as a pretreatment strategy to produce fermentation intermediates

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
S. DalyLargus T. Angenent


In several states of the U.S., one measure to mitigate greenhouse-gas emissions has been to ban food wastes from landfills. As a result, U.S.-based companies are now providing decentralized food-waste management systems for supermarkets and restaurants, which include storage as a slurry. It is unclear, however, which storage conditions (factors) would affect the spontaneous microbial activity, resulting in a different fermentation product spectra, and how this would affect further post-treatment. Here, we performed two experiments to mimic: 1) storage and 2) subsequent anaerobic digestion. For the food-waste storage system, we designed a mixed-level fractional factorial analysis with 12 experimental combinations, including separating food waste into: carbohydrate-rich, lipid-rich, and protein-rich food waste. We found that all factors that we tested correlated with the fermentation product spectra, but that especially the factors: i) storage temperature; ii) food-waste composition; and iii) storage time affected the fermentation outcome. We observed that relatively low pH levels of 3-4, which were achieved due to rapid lactic acid accumulation by microbial activity during storage, coincided with greater lactate production at a ...Continue Reading

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