Simultaneous synergistic effects of addition of agro-based adsorbent on anaerobic co-digestion of food waste and sewage sludge

  • Mohammad J. Bardi
  • Hassan A. RadEmail author


The aim of this study was to evaluate the performance of anaerobic co-digestion of food waste (FW) and sewage sludge (SS) at high organic load with the aid of an inorganic adsorbent supplementary. From BMP tests of seven mesophilic reactors, it was found that the stability of the system was hindered at higher organic load due to low alkalinity capacity of sludge (1600 mg/L) and excessive accumulation of inhibitory substances such as free ammonia and VFA. Thus, the low-cost adsorbent was applied to enhance the digestion process stability at high organic load (12.8 g VS/L). The results showed that addition of 1 g of sorghum-based activated carbon (SAC) (4 g TS/L) stabilized the system, reduced ammonia and T-VFA concentration from 267 to 39 mg/L, and 1300 to under 600 mg/L, respectively. Consequently, the methane yield increased from 201 to 272 mL/g VS (35%), solid retention time (SRT) reduced by 34%, and T-COD removal achieved by 79.38%. However, with a further increase of SAC the biogas generation decreased due to excessive adsorption of VFAs.

Graphic abstract


Co-digestion of food waste Sorghum activated carbon Inhibitory agents Biogas production 



  1. 1.
    Liu C, Huan L, Yuyao Z, Can L (2016) Improve biogas production from low-organic-content sludge through high-solids anaerobic co-digestion with food waste. Bioresour Technol 219:252–260Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Zhang C, Xiao G, Peng L, Su H, Tan TJB (2013) The anaerobic co-digestion of food waste and cattle manure. Bioresour Technol 129:170–176Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Mata AJ, Dosta J, Romero GM, Fonoll X, Peces M, Astals S (2014) A critical review on anaerobic co-digestion achievements between 2010 and 2013. Renew Sustain Energy Rev 36:412–427Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Zhang G, Zhang Z, Li CJW (2018) Improvement of solid-state anaerobic digestion of yard waste by co-digestion and pH adjustment. Waste Biomass Valoriz 9(2):211–221Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Awe OW, Lu J, Wu S, Zhao Y, Nzihou A, Lyczko N, Minh DPJW (2018) Effect of oil content on biogas production, process performance and stability of food waste anaerobic digestion. Waste Biomass Valoriz 9(12):2295–2306Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Park S, Han SK, OH D, Kim D, Kim H, Yoon YM (2018) High-rate anaerobic digestion of thermally hydrolyzed wasted sludge (THWS) with high-strength ammonia. J Mater Cycles Waste Manag 20(1):516–524Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Van NA, Nguyen HT, Van LC, Goel R, Terashima M, Yasui H (2016) A dynamic simulation of methane fermentation process receiving heterogeneous food wastes and modelling acidic failure. J Mater Cycles Waste Manage 18(2):239–247Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Kim JR, Kim JY (2016) Feasibility assessment of thermophilic anaerobic digestion process of food waste. J Mater Cycles Waste Manage 18(3):413–418Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Peng X, ShangY Z, Lei L, Xiaofei Z, Yao M, Dezhi S (2018) Long-term high-solids anaerobic digestion of food waste: effects of ammonia on process performance and microbial community. Bioresour Technol 262:148–158Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Altinbas M, Cicek O (2019) Anaerobic co-digestion of chicken and cattle manures: free ammonia inhibition. Energy Sources 41(9):1097–1109Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Shi X, Lin J, Zuo J, Li P, Li X, Guo X (2017) Effects of free ammonia on volatile fatty acid accumulation and process performance in the anaerobic digestion of two typical bio-wastes. J Environ Sci 55:49–57Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Massé DI, Masse L, Croteau F (2003) The effect of temperature fluctuations on psychrophilic anaerobic sequencing batch reactors treating swine manure. Bioresour Technol 89(1):57–62Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Rodriguez DC, Belmonte M, Penuela G, Campos JL, Vidal G (2011) Behavior of molecular weight distribution for the liquid fraction of pig slurry treated by anaerobic digestion. Environ Technol 32(4):419–425Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Sung S, Liu T (2003) Ammonia inhibition on thermophilic anaerobic digestion. Chemosphere 53(1):43–52Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Herrmann Christiane, Navajyoti K, David W, Ao X, Jerry DM (2016) Optimised biogas production from microalgae through co-digestion with carbon-rich co-substrates. Bioresour Technol 214:328–337Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Tang Jialing, Xiaochang CW, Yisong H, Yunhui P, Jin H, Huu HN, Yonggang Z, Yuyou L (2018) Nitrogen removal enhancement using lactic acid fermentation products from food waste as external carbon sources: performance and microbial communities. Bioresour Technol 256:259–268Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Neshat SA, Mohammadi M, Najafpour GD (2017) Photosynthesis assisted anaerobic digestion of cattle manure leachate in a hybrid bioreactor: an integrated system for enhanced wastewater treatment and methane production. Chem Eng J 330:616–624Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    De Gisi S, Lofrano G, Grassi M, Notarnicola M (1996) Characteristics and adsorption capacities of low-cost sorbents for wastewater treatment: a review. Sustain Mater Technol 9:10–40Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Borja R, Sцnchez E, Duran MM (1996) Effect of the clay mineral zeolite on ammonia inhibition of anaerobic thermophilic reactors treating cattle manure. J Environ Sci Health Part A 31:479–500Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    McCrory DF, Hobbs PJ (2001) Additives to reduce ammonia and odor emissions from livestock wastes. J Environ Qual 30:345–355Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Milцn ZE, Sцnchez P, Weiland R, Borja A, Martn K Ilangovan (2001) Influence of different natural zeolite concentrations on the anaerobic digestion of piggery waste. Bioresour Technol 80:37–43Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Wijesinghe DTN, Dassanayake KB, Sommer SG, Scales P, Chen D (2018) Biogas improvement by adding Australian zeolite during the anaerobic digestion of C:N ratio adjusted swine manure. Waste Biomass Valoriz 10:1883–1887Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Jimnez J, Guardia-Puebla Y, Cisneros-Ortiz ME, Morgan-Sagastume JM, Guerra G, Noyola A (2015) Optimization of the specific methanogenic activity during the anaerobic co-digestion of pig manure and rice straw, using industrial clay residues as inorganic additive. Chem Eng J 259:703–714Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Chen XiaoY, Khunjar W, Jun Z, JiangLi L, Xianxian Y, Zhijian Z (2012) Synthesis of nano-zeolite from coal fly ash and its potential for nutrient sequestration from anaerobically digested swine wastewater. Bioresour Technol 110:79–85Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Lц F, Chenghao L, Liming S, Pinjing H (2016) Biochar alleviates combined stress of ammonium and acids by firstly enriching methanosaeta and then methanosarcina. Water Res 90:34–43Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Yang Y, Zhang Y, Li Z, Zhao Z, Quan X, Zhao Z (2017) Adding granular activated carbon into anaerobic sludge digestion to promote methane production and sludge decomposition. J Clean Prod 149:1101–1108Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Cuetos MJ, Martinez EJ, Moreno R, Gonzalez R, Otero M, Gomez X (2017) Enhancing anaerobic digestion of poultry blood using activated carbon. J Adv Res 8(3):297–307Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Zhang L, Jingxin Z, Kai-C L (2018) Activated carbon enhanced anaerobic digestion of food waste—laboratory-scale and Pilot-scale operation. Waste Manag 75:270–279Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Esposito G, Frunzo L, Panico A, Pirozzi F (2012) Enhanced bio-methane production from co-digestion of different organic wastes. Environ Technol 33(24):2733–2740Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Raposo F, De la Ra M, Fernández-Cegrí V, Borja R (2012) Anaerobic digestion of solid organic substrates in batch mode: an overview relating to methane yields and experimental procedures. Renew Sustain Energy Rev 16(1):861–877Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Water Environment Federation (1999) Standard methods for the examination of water and wastewater, p 6430.
  32. 32.
    Yu Q, Xia D, Li H, Ke L, Wang H, Zheng Y, Li Q (2016) Effectiveness and mechanisms of ammonium adsorption on biochars derived from biogas residues. RSC Adv 6(91):88373–88381Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Sosnowski P, Wieczorek A, Ledakowicz S (2003) Anaerobic co-digestion of sewage sludge and organic fraction of municipal solid wastes. Adv Environ Res 7:609–616Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Penaud V, Delgenes JP, Moletta R (1999) Thermo-chemical pretreatment of a microbial biomass: influence of sodium hydroxide addition on solubilization and anaerobic biodegradability. Enzyme Microb Technol 25:258–263Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Liu C, Wang W, Anwar N, Ma Z, Liu G, Zhang R (2017) Effect of organic loading rate on anaerobic digestion of food waste under mesophilic and thermophilic conditions. Fuels 31(3):2976–2984Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Nagao N, Tajima N, Kawai M, Niwa C, Kurosawa N, Matsuyama T, Yusoff FM, Toda T (2012) Maximum organic loading rate for the single-stage wet anaerobic digestion of food waste. Bioresour Technol 118:210–218Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Polizzi C, Alatriste-Mondragón F, Munz G (2018) The role of organic load and ammonia inhibition in anaerobic digestion of tannery fleshing. Industry 19:25–34Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    Adiga S, Ramya R, Shankar BB, Patil JH (2012) CR Geetha (2012) Kinetics of anaerobic digestion of water hyacinth, poultry litter, cow manure and primary sludge: a comparative study. Int Proc Chem Biol Environ Eng (IPCBEE) 42:73–78Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    Widiasa NI, Johari S (2010) The kinetic of biogas production rate from cattle manure in batch mode. Int J Chem Biol Eng 3:39–45Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    Patil JH, Raj MA, Muralidhara PL, Desai SM, Mahadeva Raju GK (2012) Kinetics of anaerobic digestion of water hyacinth using poultry litter as inoculum. Int J Environ Sci Dev 3:94Google Scholar
  41. 41.
    Zhu B, Petros G, Ruihong Z, James L, Bryan J, Xiujin L (2009) Characteristics and biogas production potential of municipal solid wastes pretreated with a rotary drum reactor. Bioresour Technol 100:1122–1129Google Scholar
  42. 42.
    Alkaya E, Demirer GN (2011) Anaerobic acidification of sugar-beet processing wastes: effect of operational parameters. Bioenergy 35(1):32–39Google Scholar
  43. 43.
    Eskicioglu C, Ghorbani M (2011) Effect of inoculum/substrate ratio on mesophilic anaerobic digestion of bioethanol plant whole stillage in batch mode. Process Biochem 46(8):1682–1687Google Scholar
  44. 44.
    Kawai M, Nagao N, Tajima N, Niwa C, Matsuyama T, Toda T (2014) The effect of the labile organic fraction in food waste and the substrate/inoculum ratio on anaerobic digestion for a reliable methane yield. Bioresour Technol 157:174–180Google Scholar
  45. 45.
    Lü F, Hao L, Zhu M, Shao L, He P (2012) Initiating methanogenesis of vegetable waste at low inoculum-to-substrate ratio: importance of spatial separation. Bioresour Technol 105:169–173Google Scholar
  46. 46.
    Neves L, Oliveira R, Alves M (2004) Influence of inoculum activity on the bio-methanization of a kitchen waste under different waste/inoculum ratios. Process Biochem 39(12):2019–2024Google Scholar
  47. 47.
    Zhou Y, Zhang Z, Nakamoto T, Li Y, Yang Y, Utsumi M, Sugiura N (2011) Influence of substrate-to-inoculum ratio on the batch anaerobic digestion of bean curd refuse-Okara under mesophilic conditions. Bioenergy 35(7):3251–3256Google Scholar
  48. 48.
    Dearman B, Bentham R (2007) Anaerobic digestion of food waste: comparing leachate exchange rates in sequential batch systems digesting food waste and biosolids. Waste Manag 27(12):1792–1799Google Scholar
  49. 49.
    Metcalf and Eddy (1991) Wastewater engineering: treatment, disposal and reuse. In: Wastewater engineering: treatment, disposal and reuse. Mc Graw Hill Book Co., SingaporeGoogle Scholar
  50. 50.
    McCarty PL (1964) Anaerobic waste treatment fundamentals. Public Works 95(9):107–112Google Scholar
  51. 51.
    Berhe S, Leta S (2018) Anaerobic co-digestion of tannery waste water and tannery solid waste using two-stage anaerobic sequencing batch reactor: focus on performances of methanogenic step. J Mater Cycles Waste Manag 20(3):1468–1482Google Scholar
  52. 52.
    Aramrueang N, Rapport J, Zhang R (2016) Effects of hydraulic retention time and organic loading rate on performance and stability of anaerobic digestion of Spirulina platensis. Biosyst Eng 147:174–182Google Scholar
  53. 53.
    Song YC, Sang JK, Jung W (2004) Mesophilic and thermophilic temperature co-phase anaerobic digestion compared with single-stage mesophilic-and thermophilic digestion of sewage sludge. Water Res 38:1653–1662Google Scholar
  54. 54.
    Strik D, Domnanovich AM, Holubar P (2006) A pH-based control of ammonia in biogas during anaerobic digestion of artificial pig manure and maize silage. Process Biochem 41:1235–1238Google Scholar
  55. 55.
    Banks CJ, Zhang Y, Jiang Y, Heaven S (2012) Trace element requirements for stable food waste digestion at elevated ammonia concentrations. Bioresour Technol 104:127–135Google Scholar
  56. 56.
    Procházka J, Dolejš P, Máca J, Dohányos M (2012) Stability and inhibition of anaerobic processes caused by insufficiency or excess of ammonia nitrogen. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 93(1):439–447Google Scholar
  57. 57.
    Rahman NNNA, Shahadat M, Won CA, Omar FM (2014) FTIR study and bioadsorption kinetics of bioadsorbent for the analysis of metal pollutants. RSV Adv 4(102):58156–58163Google Scholar
  58. 58.
    Bhatnagar A, Sillanpää M, Witek-Krowiak A (2015) Agricultural waste peels as versatile biomass for water purification—a review. Chem Eng J 270:244–271Google Scholar
  59. 59.
    Bhatnagar A, Sillanpää M (2010) Utilization of agro-industrial and municipal waste materials as potential adsorbents for water treatment—a review. Chem Eng J 157(2–3):277–296Google Scholar
  60. 60.
    Wang T, Tang Z, Guo Y, Zhang X, Yang Q, Xu B, Wang H (2019) Comparison of heavy metal speciation of sludge during mesophilic and thermophilic anaerobic digestion. Waste Biomass Valoriz 1–10Google Scholar
  61. 61.
    Corbridge D, Lowe EJ (1954) The infra-red spectra of some inorganic phosphorus compounds. J Chem Soc 493–502Google Scholar
  62. 62.
    Zawadki J (1989) Infrared spectroscopy in surface chemistry of carbons—from chemistry and physics of carbon. Wiley, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  63. 63.
    Rao CNR (1963) Chemical application of infrared spectroscopy. Academic, New York, p 355Google Scholar
  64. 64.
    Park D, Yun YS, Park JM (2005) Studies on hexavalent chromium biosorption by chemically-treated biomass of Ecklonia sp. Chemosphere 60(10):1356–1364Google Scholar
  65. 65.
    LцЁpez VC, Moreno BJ, Sierra RR, Giraldo L, Moreno PJC (2014) Adsorption of volatile carboxylic acids on activated carbon synthesized from watermelon shells. Adsorpt Sci Technol 32(3):227–242Google Scholar
  66. 66.
    Graham Solomons TW (1998) Organic chemistry. Wiley, Brisbane, p 608Google Scholar
  67. 67.
    Rahman N, Shahadat M, Won CA, Omar FM (2014) FTIR study and bioadsorption kinetics of bioadsorbent for the analysis of metal pollutants. RSC Adv 4(102):58156–58163Google Scholar
  68. 68.
    Wang M, Liao L, Zhang X, Li Z, Xia Z, Cao W (2011) Adsorption of low-concentration ammonium onto vermiculite from Hebei Province, China. Miner C 59(5):459–465Google Scholar
  69. 69.
    Bellamy LJ (1954) The infra-red spectra of complex molecules. Wiley, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  70. 70.
    Solum M, Pugmire R, Jagtoyen M, Derbyshire F (1995) Evolution of carbon structure in chemically activated wood. Carbon 33(9):1247–1254Google Scholar
  71. 71.
    Puziy AM, Poddubnaya OI, Martínez-Alonso A, Suárez-Garcíab F, Tascón JMD (2002) Carbon 40:1493Google Scholar
  72. 72.
    Guo J, Xu W, Chen WL, Lua AC (2005) Adsorption of NH3 onto activated carbon prepared from palm shells impregnated with H2SO4. J Colloid Interface Sci 281(2):285–290Google Scholar
  73. 73.
    Zhao Zhiqiang, Yaobin Z, Woodard TL, Nevin KP, Lovley DR (2015) Enhancing syntrophic metabolism in up-flow anaerobic sludge blanket reactors with conductive carbon materials. Bioresour Technol 191:140–145Google Scholar
  74. 74.
    Xu S (2015) Comparing activated carbon of different particle sizes on enhancing methane generation in upflow anaerobic digester. Bioresour Technol 196:606–612Google Scholar
  75. 75.
    Appels L, Van Assche A, Willems K, Degrцve J, Van Impe J, Dewil R (2011) Peracetic acid oxidation as an alternative pre-treatment for the anaerobic digestion of waste activated sludge. Bioresour Technol 102(5):4124–4130Google Scholar
  76. 76.
    Horiuchi J, Shimizu T, Kanno T, Kobayashi M (1999) Dynamic behavior in response to pH shift during anaerobic acidogenesis with a chemostat culture. Biotechnol Tech 13(3):155–157Google Scholar
  77. 77.
    Wijesinghe DTN, Dassanayake KB, Scales P, Sommer S, Chen D (2018) Effect of Australian zeolite on methane production and ammonium removal during anaerobic digestion of swine manure. J Environ Chem Eng 6(1):1233–1241Google Scholar
  78. 78.
    Gonzalez J, Sanchez M, Gomez X (2018) Enhancing anaerobic digestion: the effect of carbon conductive materials. Carbon 4(4):59Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Japan KK, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Environmental Engineering LaboratoryBabol Noshirvani University of TechnologyBobolIran

Personalised recommendations