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Evaluation of phyical-chemical and microbiological characteristics in hydrogen production and homoacetogenesis from coffee processing wastes

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Alejandra Carolina Villa Montoya
Total Authors: 1
Document type: Doctoral Thesis
Press: São Carlos.
Institution: Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Escola de Engenharia de São Carlos (EESC/SBD)
Defense date:
Examining board members:
Maria Bernadete Amancio Varesche Silva; Irineu Bianchini Junior; Michel Brienzo; Tiago Palladino Delforno; Giovana Tommaso
Advisor: Maria Bernadete Amancio Varesche Silva

Wet coffee processing includes pulping, fermentation, washing and grain separation, in which large amounts of solid waste (husk and pulp) and wastewater are generated. The study of microbiological aspects in the hydrogen production from coffee waste was little explored, which makes this residue attractive and the focus of research. In this scenario, we evaluate the potential use of coffee waste as substrate and source of fermentative bacteria and fungi for H2 production. In addition, homoacetogenesis, a process, that negatively affects H2 production, was studied since H2/CO2 can be consumed for acetic acid production. Assays in batch reactors were conducted to select the best hydrothermal pretreatment condition (severity), fermentation factors affecting the H2 production (pH, temperature, agitation, headspace, bioaugmentation of microbial consortium, concentration of pulp and husk, wastewater and yeast extract) (Plackett and Burman design) and homoacetogenesis (fractional factorial design 24-1), followed by the Rotational Central Composite Design (RCCD) to optimize the H2 production. It was verified that the hydrothermal pretreatment severity of 3,53 (180 °C, 15 minutes), resulted in the increase of fermentable sugars, with low concentration of lignin, phenol, furfural and 5-hydroxyximethyl furfural, obtaining values of the maximum H2 production potential (P) of 1,8 mL H2. The fermentation factors conducing to highest P of 82 mL H2 were pH 7,0, wastewater 30 g COD L-1, 6 g L-1 pulp and husk, 30 °C, 50% headspace, 180 rpm, without bioaugmentation of the microbial consortium and 2 g L-1 yeast extract. On the other hand, the conditions leading to significant H2 consumption by homoacetogenesis were initial pH between 5,5 and 7,5, headspace between 40 and 60%, wastewater concentration between 10 and 30 g COD L-1 and concentration of husk and pulp between 3 and 9 g L-1. In relation to the fermentation factors statistically significant in the H2 production (pH, pulp and husk concentration and headspace), the optimal operational conditions to obtain P of 240 mL H2, estimated through RCCD design, were at pH 7,0, 7 g L-1 pulp and husk concentration and 30% headspace volume. In the microbial consortium, there was a predominance of bacteria similar to Lactobacillus sp. and Clostridium sp. and fungi similar to Saccharomyces sp. and Kazachstania sp. These microorganisms were associated with the production of H2, lactic acid, ethanol and acetic acid in the reactors, identifying genes related to enzymes for the degradation of lignin, phenol, cellulose, hemicellulose and pectin. There was a high relative abundance of Clostridium sp. both in the H2 production assays and in the H2 consumption assays, with genes associated to homoacetogenesis, production of propionic acid and butanol. (AU)