an official journal of: published by:
an official journal of: published by:
Editor in Chief: RAFFAELLO COSSU


  • Francesca Girotto - University of Padova, Department of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering, Italy
  • Sigrid Kusch - University of Southampton, Water and Environmental Engineering Group, United Kingdom
  • Maria Cristina Lavagnolo - University of Padova, Department of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering, Italy

Released under CC BY-NC-ND

Copyright: © 2019 CISA Publisher


Acidogenic fermentation was applied to evaluate the potential recovery of biological monomers as precursors in bio-plastic production. Three residual organic substrates from high-volume beverage sectors (coffee, orange juice, beer) were assessed: spent coffee grounds (SCG), orange peels (OP), and brewers’ spent grains (BSG). Batch fermentation tests were set up. SCG and OP were studied as single substrates and combined to evaluate yields of target monomers (volatile fatty acids, ethanol, lactate) and to reveal interactions between the matrixes. NaOH pre-treatment was applied to SCG to enhance disruption of the lignocellulosic cell wall. BSG was studied without pre-treatment and following acid or alkaline pre-treatment, with acidogenic fermentation being initiated with two different initial pH values (7; 9). Acetogenic fermentation was achieved with all substrates, although with different yields of target monomers. In terms of total biological metabolite production, following alkaline pre-treatment, OP and BSG, both fermented at an initial pH 9, showed the best performance, yielding 62.6 g and 62.0 g target monomers per litre substrate. For all substrates, acetic and butyric acids were the most abundant products. In the case of OP fermentation, butyrate accounted for 57% (35.8 g/L) of the total. The BSG test with the highest total yield also achieved the highest acetate yield (36.7 g/L). The results confirm that OP and BSG should be considered a priority sustainable feedstock for the supply of biological monomers, particularly if polyhydroxyalkanoates are to be produced. SCG are better suited to aceto-oriented approaches, such as the production of polyvinyl acetate.


Editorial History

  • Received: 06 Oct 2018
  • Revised: 14 Dec 2018
  • Accepted: 11 Jan 2019
  • Available online: 30 Jan 2019


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