Chemical oxygen demand reduction in a whey fermentation

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The efficiency of Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) reduction η in the fermentation of whey by Kluyveromyces fragilis IMAT 1872 was studied at various temperatures, lactose concentrations, air dilution ratios and stirring speeds. Their effects on the biomass yield (y) has been determined previously (Moresi et al. in press).

Two different optimal sets of these variables were found according to whether the objective was the production of cell mass or the reduction of COD. The two sets were then compared to establish a strategy for the industrial development of this fermentation process.

The experimental efficiencies of COD removal were submitted to analysis in a composite design. Only the first two principal axes (i.e., the ‘oxygen transfer coefficient’ factor and the ‘stripping’ factor) of canonical analysis were found to be significant by an F-test. Therefore, the observations were fitted with a quadratic expression by using only these factors: the mean standard error was less than 6%.

The yield of cells, expressed as g of dried cells/g of COD removed, varied in this fermentation, but this parameter may be particularly useful for analyzing and optimizing any fermentation process when the culture medium is a mixture of carbohydrates or the main substrate is fully utilized during the initial stages of fermentation.