Volatile fatty acid production from Kraft mill foul condensate in upflow anaerobic sludge blanket reactors

Tejaswini Eregowda, Marika E. Kokko, Eldon R. Rene, Jukka Rintala, Piet N.L. Lens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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The utilization of foul condensate (FC) collected from a Kraft pulp mill for the anaerobic production of volatile fatty acids (VFA) was tested in upflow anaerobic sludge blanket (UASB) reactors operated at 22, 37 and 55°C at a hydraulic retention time (HRT) of ∼75 h. The FC consisted mainly of 11370, 500 and 592 mg/L methanol, ethanol and acetone, respectively. 42–46% of the organic carbon (methanol, ethanol and acetone) was utilized in the UASB reactors operated at an organic loading of ∼8.6 gCOD/L.d and 52–70% of the utilized organic carbon was converted into VFA. Along with acetate, also propionate, isobutyrate, butyrate, isovalerate and valerate were produced from the FC. Prior to acetogenesis of FC, enrichment of the acetogenic biomass was carried out in the UASB reactors for 113 d by applying operational parameters that inhibit methanogenesis and induce acetogenesis. Activity tests after 158 d of reactor operation showed that the biomass from the 55°C UASB reactor exhibited the highest activity after the FC feed compared to the biomass from the reactors at 22 and 37°C. Activity tests at 37°C to compare FC utilization for CH4 versus VFA production showed that an organic carbon utilization >98% for CH4 production occurred in batch bottles, whereas the VFA production batch bottles showed 51% organic carbon utilization. Furthermore, higher concentrations of C3–C5 VFA were produced when FC was the substrate compared to synthetic methanol rich wastewater.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2447-2460
Number of pages14
JournalEnvironmental Technology (United Kingdom)
Issue number16
Early online date2020
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • acetogenesis
  • Foul condensate
  • Kraft pulp mill effluent
  • UASB
  • VFA production

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal


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