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Assessment of toxicity of volatile fatty acids to Photobacterium phosphoreum


The toxicity of four volatile fatty acids (VFAs) as anaerobic digestion (AD) intermediates was investigated at pH 7. Photobacterium phosphoreum T3 was used as an indicator organism. Binary, ternary and mixtures of AD intermediates were designated by letters A (acetic acid + propionic acid), B (acetic acid + butyric acid), C (acetic acid + ethanol), D (propionic acid + butyric acid), E (propionic acid + ethanol), F (butyric acid + ethanol), G (acetic acid + propionic acid + butyric acid), H (acetic acid + propionic acid + ethanol), I (acetic acid + butyric acid+ ethanol), J (propionic acid + butyric acid + ethanol) and K (acetic acid + propionic acid + butyric acid + ethanol) to assess the toxicity through equitoxic mixing ratio method. The IC50 values of acetic acid, propionic acid, butyric acid and ethanol were 9.812, 7.76, 6.717 and 17.33 g/L respectively, displaying toxicity order of: butyric acid > propionic acid > acetic acid > ethanol being additive in nature. The toxic effects of four VFAs could be designated as synergistic and one additive in nature.

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Correspondence to Qaisar Mahmood.

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Zeb, B.S., Mahmood, Q., Ping, Z. et al. Assessment of toxicity of volatile fatty acids to Photobacterium phosphoreum . Microbiology 83, 510–515 (2014).

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  • anaerobic digestion
  • toxicity
  • anaerobic intermediates
  • Photobacterium phosphoreum T3
  • industrial wastewater