Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 26, pp 27052–27062 | Cite as

Insights into redox mediator supplementation on enhanced volatile fatty acids production from waste activated sludge

  • Jingang HuangEmail author
  • Susu Chen
  • Weihong WuEmail author
  • Huiping Chen
  • Kangyin Guo
  • Junhong Tang
  • Jianping Li
Research Article


Anaerobic fermentation of waste activated sludge (WAS) for recycling valuable volatile fatty acids (VFAs) is economically valuable. However, the fermentation of protein is the rate-limiting step of VFA production with WAS as a substrate. In this study, the effect of redox mediators (RMs, i.e., riboflavin and lawsone) on the enhanced production of VFAs from WAS was investigated. The results indicate that both RMs can promote protein-dependent fermentation, increasing maximum VFA accumulation by 43.9% and 42.5% respectively. In cultures supplemented with riboflavin and lawsone, VFA production was highly correlated with protease activities, but not with α-glucosidase activities. This implies that RMs affected the redox reaction of amino acids degradation, resulting in an increased release of ammonia. Sequencing results showed that RMs significantly increased the abundance of bacteria related to VFA fermentation and protein/amino acid degradation at the levels of phylum, class, order, family, and even genus.


Sludge Fermentation Riboflavin Lawsone Protein Carbohydrate 


Funding information

This research was supported by China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (2018M642349) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 51408171), Jingang Huang received partial financial support from the China Scholarship Council.

Supplementary material

11356_2019_5927_MOESM1_ESM.doc (406 kb)
ESM 1 (DOC 405 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Materials and Environmental EngineeringHangzhou Dianzi UniversityHangzhouPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.College of Biosystems Engineering and Food ScienceZhejiang UniversityHangzhouPeople’s Republic of China

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