Publications

Other Publications | 2012

Analytical approach for the determination of micro elements in anaerobic digestion systems by sequential extraction technique

Rachbauer, L. Analytical approach for the determination of micro elements in anaerobic digestion systems by sequential extraction technique, Master Thesis, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna, Vienna, Austria, 2012.

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Der Einfluss von Nährstoffzusammensetzung und Additivzugabe beim anaeroben Abbau organischer Substanz stieß in den letzten Jahren vermehrt auf Interesse. Im Besonderen Spurenelemente haben erwiesenermaßen erheblichen Einfluss auf u.a. methanogene Archaeen und deren metabolische Aktivität. Massive Probleme der Prozessstabilität speziell bei Monovergärung unterschiedlichster Substrate können durch Co-Fermentation oder gezielte Zudosierung von Spurenelementmischungen überwunden werden. Ein profundes Verständnis der Wirkung dieser Elemente auf die verschiedenen mikrobiellen Spezies im Biogasreaktor als auch ihre Verfügbarkeit, ist die Voraussetzung für eine wirtschaftliche Gestaltung des anaeroben Fermentationsprozesses organischer Roh- als auch Reststoffe. Der heutige Stand-der-Technik zur Analyse von Biogasproben hat seinen Ursprung in der Wasser-, Abwasser- und Schlammanalytik und besteht aus einem einzelnen Filtrationsschritt vor Elementdetektion mittels ICP-OES bzw. ICP-MS. Diese Methodik erlaubt nur einen äußerst begrenzten Einblick in die Verteilung von essentiellen Spurenelementen in Anaerobreaktoren. Eine aussagekräftige Beurteilung der mikrobiellen Verfügbarkeit von beispielsweise Cobalt, Nickel oder Molybdän ist somit nur eingeschränkt möglich. Ziel dieser Arbeit war es, eine bestehende Methode zur sequentiellen Extraktion aus dem Bereich der Boden- und Sedimentanalytik für die Anwendung auf Biogasproben zu adaptieren. Der daraus resultierende Einblick in die Verteilung von Spurenelementen in den einzelnen Fraktionen erlaubt eine genauere Bewertung der mikrobiellen Verfügbarkeit von Nährstoffen in Biogasreaktoren, verglichen mit bestehenden analytischen Untersuchungsmethoden. Anforderungen an das Verfahren wie die Reproduzierbarkeit der Daten, zeitsparende Analytik und wirtschaftliche Realisierbarkeit konnten erfüllt werden. Wiederfindungsraten zwischen 90 und 110 % wurden für die wichtigsten Spurenelemente erreicht. Durch die sequentielle Extraktion konnte gezeigt werden, dass essenzielle Mikro-Nährstoffe bis zu 98 % in einer unlöslichen Form vorliegen können. Die Ergebnisse dieser Arbeit belegen die Anwendbarkeit der entwickelten Methodik zur Spurenelement-Extraktion in Anaerob-Systemen.

Peer reviewed papers | 2012

Counteracting ammonia inhibition in anaerobic digestion by removal with a hollow fiber membrane contactor

Lauterböck B, Ortner M, Haider R, Fuchs W. Counteracting ammonia inhibition in anaerobic digestion by removal with a hollow fiber membrane contactor. Water Res. 2012;46(15):4861-9.

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The aim of the current study was to investigate the feasibility of membrane contactors for continuous ammonia (NH3-N) removal in an anaerobic digestion process and to counteract ammonia inhibition. Two laboratory anaerobic digesters were fed slaughterhouse wastes with ammonium (NH4+) concentrations ranging from 6 to 7.4 g/L. One reactor was used as reference reactor without any ammonia removal. In the second reactor, a hollow fiber membrane contactor module was used for continuous ammonia removal. The hollow fiber membranes were directly submerged into the digestate of the anaerobic reactor. Sulfuric acid was circulated in the lumen as an adsorbent solution. Using this set up, the NH4+-N concentration in the membrane reactor was significantly reduced. Moreover the extraction of ammonia lowered the pH by 0.2 units. In combination that led to a lowering of the free NH3-N concentration by about 70%. Ammonia inhibition in the reference reactor was observed when the concentration exceeded 6 g/L NH4+-N or 1-1.2 g/L NH3-N. In contrast, in the membrane reactor the volatile fatty acid concentration, an indicator for process stability, was much lower and a higher gas yield and better degradation was observed. The chosen approach offers an appealing technology to remove ammonia directly from media having high concentrations of solids and it can help to improve process efficiency in anaerobic digestion of ammonia rich substrates. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

Other Publications | 2013

Austrian context for biowaste and case study on brewery waste

Bochmann G. Austrian context for biowaste and case study on brewery waste, Biogaz Europe 2013, 20th of March 2013, Nantes, France.

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Other Publications | 2013

Can bioavailability of trace nutrients be measured in an AD process?

Ortner M, Rachbauer L, Somitsch W, Fuchs W. Can bioavailability of trace nutrients be measured in an AD process? Bioenergy Conference 2013, 4th-6th of September 2013, Jyväskylä, Finnland.

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Other Publications | 2013

Energy independent food processing industry -- realization of an innovative waste & energy management concept

Ortner M, Pröll T, Schumergruber A, Fuchs W. Energy independent food processing industry - realization of an innovative waste & energy management concept, Beijing International Environmental Technology Conference 2013, 21st-23rd of October 2013, Beijing, China.

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Other Publications | 2013

Microbial conversion of H2S for sulphuric acid recycling

Rachbauer L, Gabauer W, Ortner M, Bochmann G. Microbial conversion of H2S for sulphuric acid recycling, 9th International Conference on Renewable Resources & Biorefineries 2013, 5th-7th of June 2013, Antwerpen, Belgium. (peer reviewed) (visual presentation)

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Other Publications | 2013

Pylogenetic (SSU) and Fatty Acid Analysis of Several Algal Strains within the Trebouxiophyceae and Implications for Commercial Purposes

Gruber M, Darienko T, Pröschold T, Jirsa F, Schagerl M. Pylogenetic (SSU) and Fatty Acid Analysis of Several Algal Strains within the Trebouxiophyceae and Implications for Commercial Purposes, 21st European Biomass Conference and Exhibition 2013, 3rd-7th of June 2013, Copenhagen, Denmark.

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Books / Bookchapters | 2013

Storage and pre-treatment of substrates for biogas production

Bochmann G, Montgomery L. Storage and pre-treatment of substrates for biogas production. The biogas handbook. ISBN 978 0 85709 498 8 2013:85-103.

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Biogas substrates are typically moist, which can make them difficult to store because bacteria and mould can grow on them. Ensiling, which involves the production of acid by lactic acid bacteria, is often used to preserve crops cheaply. Biogas substrates are also often fibrous, which can make them difficult to mix and means that some of their energy is locked up within the fibres. Different pre-treatment technologies are being investigated to access the energy in these fibres, to increase the rate of biogas production and to improve the mixing qualities of the substrates. Pre-treatment technologies are based on three principles: physical (including mechanical shear, heat, pressure and electric fields), chemical (acids, bases and solvents) and biological (microbial and enzymatic). Combinations of these principles are also used, including steam explosion, extrusion and thermo-chemical processes. Although many of these processes have been investigated at small scale, few have been analysed at large scale in un-biased studies. Many of these techniques are associated with high energy input (e.g. mechanical and heat pre-treatment), high equipment costs (e.g. mechanical systems where the blades erode) or use large volumes of chemicals (e.g. alkali pre-treatment). Different pre-treatment technologies work better with different substrates, and more research is required in this field to understand which combinations are worthwhile. This chapter describes some of the common pre-treatment technologies along with some advantages and disadvantages.

Other Publications | 2013

Two-Stage Anaerobic Digestion of Sugar Beet Pressed Pulp - Optimizing of reactor performance

Stoyanova E et al. Two-Stage Anaerobic Digestion of Sugar Beet Pressed Pulp - Optimizing of reactor performance, 13th World Congress on Anaerobic Digestion 2013, 25th-28th of June 2013, Santiago de Compostela, Spain. (peer reviewed) (visual presentation)

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Other Publications | 2014

Can bioavailability of trace elements be measured in AD systems?

Ortner M, Rachbauer L, Somitsch W, Bochmann G, Fuchs W. Can bioavailability of trace elements be measured in AD systems? Biogas Science 2014, International Conference on Anaerobic Digestion 26th–30th of October 2014, Vienna, Austria.

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Peer reviewed papers | 2014

Can bioavailability of trace nutrients be measured in anaerobic digestion?

Ortner M, Rachbauer L, Somitsch W, Fuchs W. Can bioavailability of trace nutrients be measured in anaerobic digestion? Appl Energy. 2014;126:190-8.

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Trace nutrients significantly affect the microbial metabolic activity within anaerobic digestion processes but always imply the risk of overdosing of heavy metals. In this study the applicability of a sequential extraction scheme established for soil and sediment samples on biogas slurries with different compositions was tested and compared to an adapted version of this extraction method. The analytical results proved the successful applicability of the developed analytical technique for the speciation of trace nutrients in anaerobic digestion systems. The procedure fulfills the basic requirements of reproducible data, a time-saving analytical approach and economic feasibility. Recovery rates of 90-110% were obtained for the most important trace elements Fe, Co, Cu, Mo, Ni and Zn. However, it was demonstrated that the adapted method provides more reliable information about the bioavailable fractions and it is considered the more appropriate approach. Data on fractionation indicated that up to 76% of these essential trace nutrients might be present in an insoluble state. Depending on the specific trace element a significant fraction, from 30% to more than 70%, is not directly bioavailable. This important aspect should be considered to guarantee sufficient supply of the microbial consortium with trace elements and at the same time to avoid overdosage. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

Peer reviewed papers | 2014

Efficient anaerobic mono-digestion of N-rich slaughterhouse waste: Influence of ammonia, temperature and trace elements

Ortner M, Leitzinger K, Skupien S, Bochmann G, Fuchs W. Efficient anaerobic mono-digestion of N-rich slaughterhouse waste: Influence of ammonia, temperature and trace elements. Bioresour Technol. 2014;174:222-32.

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Three mono-digestion experiments treating slaughterhouse waste with high TKN concentration (~11. g/kg) were applied in lab-scale at mesophilic and psychrophilic conditions to study the impact of high ammonia concentrations and additives. Precipitation of sulphur by addition of ferrous chloride did not influence process behaviour, whereas supplementation of trace elements significantly improved process stability by reducing volatile fatty acid concentration towards zero.The limit of NH4-N concentration causing a rise of VFAs to 19,000mg/l and reduction of methane by 25% was found between 7.7 and 9.1g/kg which correspond to NH3 concentrations of 830-1060mg/l.Psychrophilic operation (25°C) lowered inhibitory NH3 concentration to 140mg/l, but process performance was stable only at low OLR of 0.4kgVS/m3d.Robust performance at highest possible NH4-N concentration (7.7g/kg), low VFA accumulation and satisfying methane yield of about 280Nm3/t COD was observed at OLR of 2.5kgVS/m3d at 37°C. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

Other Publications | 2014

Fermentation of biomass from micro algae

Gruber M, Zohar E, Jerney J, Bochmann G, Obbard JP, Schagerl M, Fuchs W, Drosg B. Fermentation of biomass from micro algae, 4th Central European Biomass Conference 2014, 15th-18th of January 2014, Graz, Austria.

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Other Publications | 2014

H2S and NH3 tolerance of acidophilic sulfur-oxidizing bacteria

Rachbauer L, Lorber G, Ortner M, Bochmann G. H2S and NH3 tolerance of acidophilic sulfur-oxidizing bacteria, 4th Central European Biomass Conference 2014, 15th-18th of January 2014, Graz, Austria.

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Other Publications | 2014

Microalgae as source of biogas: Anaerobic digestion of un- and pre-treated biomass

Gruber M, Zohar E, Jerney J, Nussbaumer M, Ludwig I, Hieger C, Bromberger P, Bochmann G, Obbard JP, Schagerl M, Fuchs W, Drosg B. Microalgae as source of biogas: Anaerobic digestion of un- and pre-treated biomass, Algae Networking Event 2014, 11th of September 2014, Dürnrohr, Austria. (oral presentation)

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Peer reviewed papers | 2014

Reducing the risk of foaming and decreasing viscosity by two-stage anaerobic digestion of sugar beet pressed pulp

Stoyanova E, Forsthuber B, Pohn S, Schwarz C, Fuchs W, Bochmann G. Reducing the risk of foaming and decreasing viscosity by two-stage anaerobic digestion of sugar beet pressed pulp. Biodegradation. 2014;25(2):277-89.

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Anaerobic digestion (AD) of sugar beet pressed pulp (SBPP) is a promising treatment concept. It produces biogas as a renewable energy source making sugar production more energy efficient and it turns SBPP from a residue into a valuable resource. In this study one- and two-stage mono fermentation at mesophilic conditions in a continuous stirred tank reactor were compared. Also the optimal incubation temperature for the pre-acidification stage was studied. The fastest pre-acidification, with a hydraulic retention time (HRT) of 4 days, occurred at a temperature of 55 °C. In the methanogenic reactor of the two-stage system stable fermentation at loading rate of 7 kg VS/m3 d was demonstrated. No artificial pH adjustment was necessary to maintain optimum levels in both the pre-acidification and the methanogenic reactor. The total HRT of the two-stage AD was 36 days which is considerably lower compared to the one-stage AD (50 days). The frequently observed problem of foaming at high loading rates was less severe in the two-stage reactor. Moreover the viscosity of digestate in the methanogenic stage of the two-stage fermentation was in average tenfold lower than in the one-stage fermentation. This decreases the energy input for the reactor stirring about 80 %. The observed advantages make the two-stage process economically attractive, despite higher investments for a two reactor system. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.
 

Other Publications | 2014

Scenedesmus obliquus as Source for Biogas: Anaerobic Digestion of Untreated and Pre-treated Biomass.

Gruber M, Zohar E, Jerney J, Bochmann G, Obbard JP, Schagerl M, Fuchs W, Drosg B. Scenedesmus obliquus as Source for Biogas: Anaerobic Digestion of Untreated and Pre-treated Biomass, 15. Tagung der Sektion Phykologie der DGB 2014, 23rd-26th of February 2014, Stralsund, Germany.

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Other Publications | 2014

Thermo-chemical pre-treatment of brewers' spent grains

Gorter S, Rachbauer L, Scheidl S, Gabauer W, Ortner M, Bochmann G. Thermo-chemical pre-treatment of brewers' spent grains, 4th Central European Biomass Conference 2014, 15th-18th of January 2014, Graz, Austria.

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Peer reviewed papers | 2015

Acutodesmus obliquus as a benchmark strain for evaluating methane production from microalgae: Influence of different storage and pretreatment methods on biogas yield

Gruber-Brunhumer MR, Jerney J, Zohar E, Nussbaumer M, Hieger C, Bochmann G, Schagerl M, Obbard JP, Fuchs W, Drosg B. Acutodesmus obliquus as a benchmark strain for evaluating methane production from microalgae: Influence of different storage and pretreatment methods on biogas yield. Algal Research. 01 November 2015;12:230-238.

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Peer reviewed papers | 2015

Anaerobic digestion of thermal pretreated brewers' spent grains

Bochmann G, Drosg B, Fuchs W. Anaerobic digestion of thermal pretreated brewers' spent grains. Environmental Progress and Sustainable Energy. 2015;34(4):1092-6.

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Anaerobic digestion offers a good opportunity to degrade residues from breweries to biogas. To improve the anaerobic degradation process thermal pretreatment of brewers' spent grains (BSG) offers the opportunity to increase degradation rate and biogas yield. Aim of the work is to show the influence of the thermal pretreatment of BSG to anaerobic digestion. BSG were pretreated at different temperature levels from 100 to 200°C. The biogas production of thermally pretreated BSG lies between 30 and 40% higher than for untreated reference. The temperature of the pretreatment process has a significant influence on the degradation rate or gas yield, respectively. Up to a temperature of 160°C, the biogas yield rises. Temperatures over 160°C result in a slower degradation and decreasing biogas yield. Substrate with and without pretreatment gave a daily biogas yield of 430 and 389 Nm3 × kg-1 VS, respectively. Batch analysis of the biochemical methane potential gives a total methane yield of 409.8 Nm3 CH4 × kg-1 VS of untreated brewers' spent grains and 467.6 Nm3 CH4 × kg-1 VS of the pretreated samples. For pretreatment energy balance estimation has been carried out. Without any heat recovery demand is higher than the energy surplus resulting from pretreatment of BSG. With energy recovery by heat exchanger the net energy yield could be increased to 38.87 kWh × kg-1 FM or 8.81%. © 2015 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Environ Prog.

Other Publications | 2015

Aspects of microalgal biomass as feedstock in biogas plants

Gruber M, Zohar E, Jerney J, Ludwig I, Bochmann G, Nussbaumer L, Montgomery L, Fuchs W, Drosg B, Schöpp T, Obbard JP. Aspects of microalgal biomass as feedstock in biogas plants, 23rd European Biomass Conference 2015, 1st-4th of June 2015, Vienna, Austria. (visual presentation)

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Peer reviewed papers | 2015

Bioavailability of essential trace elements and their impact on anaerobic digestion of slaughterhouse waste

Ortner M, Rameder M, Rachbauer L, Bochmann G, Fuchs W. Bioavailability of essential trace elements and their impact on anaerobic digestion of slaughterhouse waste. Biochemical Engineering Journal. 15 July 2015;99:107-113.

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Peer reviewed papers | 2015

Closing the Nutrient Cycle in Two-Stage Anaerobic Digestion of Industrial Waste Streams

Rachbauer L, Gabauer W, Scheidl S, Ortner M, Fuchs W, Bochmann G. Closing the Nutrient Cycle in Two-Stage Anaerobic Digestion of Industrial Waste Streams. Energy Fuels 2015;29(7):4052-4057.

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Industrial waste streams from brewing industries and distilleries provide a valuable but largely unused alternative substrate for biogas production by anaerobic digestion. High sulfur loads in the feed caused by acidic pretreatment to enhance bioavailability are responsible for H2S formation during anaerobic digestion. Microbiological oxidation of H2S provides an elegant technique to remove this toxic gas compound. Moreover, it allows for recovery of sulfuric acid, the final product of aerobic sulfide oxidation, as demonstrated in this study. Two-stage anaerobic digestion of brewer’s spent grains, the major byproduct in the brewing industry, allows for the release of up to 78% of total H2S formed in the first pre-acidification stage. Desulfurization of such pre-acidification gas in continuous acidic biofiltration with immobilized sulfur-oxidizing bacteria resulted in a maximum H2S elimination capacity of 473 g m–3 h–1 at an empty bed retention time of 91 s. Complete H2S removal was achieved at inlet concentrations of up to 6363 ppm. The process was shown to be very robust, and even after an interruption of H2S feeding for 10 days, excellent removal efficiency was immediately restored. A maximum sulfate production rate of 0.14 g L–1 h–1 was achieved, and a peak concentration of 4.18 g/L sulfuric acid was reached. Further experiments addressed the reduction of fresh water and chemicals to minimize process expenses. It was proven that up to 50% of mineral medium that is required in large amounts during microbiological desulfurization can be replaced by the liquid fraction of the digestate. The conducted study demonstrates the viability of microbial sulfur recovery with theoretical recovery rates of up to 44%.

Other Publications | 2015

Effects of pretreatment and storage methods on biomethane potential of different microalgae in anaerobic digestion

Gruber M, Jerney J, Zohar E, Nussbaumer M, Hieger C, Bochmann G, Schagerl M, Obbard JP, Fuchs W, Drosg B. Effects of pretreatment and storage methods on biomethane potential of different microalgae in anaerobic digestion, 23rd European Biomass Conference 2015, 1st-4th of June 2015, Vienna, Austria. (oral presentation)

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Peer reviewed papers | 2015

Energy self-supply of large abattoir by sustainable waste utilisation based on anaerobic mono-digestion

Ortner M, Wöss D, Schumergruber A, Pröll T, Fuchs W. Energy self-supply of large abattoir by sustainable waste utilisation based on anaerobic mono-digestion. Applied Energy. 2015;143:460-471.

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Abattoirs have a large number of energy intensive processes. Beside energy supply, disposal costs of animal by-products (ABP) are the main relevant cost drivers. In this study, successful implementation of a new waste and energy management system based on anaerobic digestion is described. Several limitations and technical challenges regarding the anaerobic digestion of the protein rich waste material had to be overcome. The most significant problems were process imbalances such as foaming and floatation as well as high accumulation of volatile fatty acids and low biogas yields caused by lack of essential microelements, high ammonia concentrations and fluctuation in operation temperature. Ultimately, 85% of the waste accumulated during the slaughter process is converted into 2700 MW h thermal and 3200 MW h electrical energy in a biogas combined heat and power (CHP) plant. The thermal energy is optimally integrated into the production process by means of a stratified heat buffer. The energy generated by the biogas CHP-plant can cover a significant share of the energy requirement of the abattoir corresponding to 50% of heat and 60% of electric demand, respectively. In terms of annual cost for energy supply and waste disposal a reduction of 63% from 1.4 Mio € to about 0.5 Mio € could be achieved with the new system. The payback period of the whole investment is approximately 9 years. Beside the economic benefits also the positive environmental impact should be highlighted: a 79% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from 4.5 Mio kg CO2 to 0.9 Mio kg CO2 annually was achieved. The realized concept received the Austrian Energy Globe Award and represents the first anaerobic mono-digestion process of slaughterhouse waste worldwide.

Peer reviewed papers | 2016

Associated effects of storage and mechanical pre-treatments of microalgae biomass on biomethane yields in anaerobic digestion

Gruber-Brunhumer MR, Jerney J, Zohar E, Nussbaumer M, Hieger C, Bromberger P, Bochmann G, Jirsa F, Schagerl M, Obbard JP, Fuchs W, Drosg B. Associated effects of storage and mechanical pre-treatments of microalgae biomass on biomethane yields in anaerobic digestion. Biomass and Bioenergy. October 2016;93: 259-268.

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Peer reviewed papers | 2016

Biological biogas upgrading capacity of a hydrogenotrophic community in a trickle-bed reactor

Rachbauer L, Voitl G, Bochmann G, Fuchs W. Biological biogas upgrading capacity of a hydrogenotrophic community in a trickle-bed reactor. Applied Energy. 15 October 2016;180: 483-490.

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Peer reviewed papers | 2016

Enhanced Separation of the Organic Fraction from Paper Mill Effluent for Energy Recovery

Stoyanova E, Bochmann G, Couperus A, Fuchs W. Enhanced Separation of the Organic Fraction from Paper Mill Effluent for Energy Recovery. Waste and Biomass Valorization. 1 October 2016;7(5): 1031-1039.

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Peer reviewed papers | 2016

Methodological approaches for fractionation and speciation to estimate trace element bioavailability in engineered anaerobic digestion ecosystems: An overview

van Hullebusch ED, Guibaud G, Simon S, Lenz M, Yekta SS, Fermoso FG, Jain R, Duester L, Roussel J, Guillon E, Skyllberg U, Almeida CMR, Pechaud Y, Garuti M, Frunzo L, Esposito G, Carliell-Marquet C, Ortner M, Collins G. Methodological approaches for fractionation and speciation to estimate trace element bioavailability in engineered anaerobic digestion ecosystems: An overview. Critical Reviews in Environmental Science and Technology. 17 August 2016;46(16): 1324-1366.

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Peer reviewed papers | 2016

Two-stage cultivation of N-rich and N–deprived Acutodesmus obliquus biomass: Influence of cultivation and dewatering methods on microalgal biomass used in anaerobic digestion

Gruber M, Nussbaumer M, Jerney J, Ludwig I, Zohar E, Lang I, Bochmann G, Schagerl M, Obbard JP, Fuchs W, Drosg B. Two-stage cultivation of N-rich and N–deprived Acutodesmus obliquus biomass: Influence of cultivation and dewatering methods on microalgal biomass used in anaerobic digestion. Algal Research. July 2016;17: 105-112.

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Peer reviewed papers | 2016

Valorisation of slaughter house and deinking paper waste streams for the production of enzyme by Trichoderma reesei

Weiss R, Eischer A, Tadic T, Gritsch SM, Ortner M, Prall K, Neunteufel E, Putz RF, Guebitz GM, Nyanhongo GS. Valorisation of slaughter house and deinking paper waste streams for the production of enzyme by Trichoderma reesei. Journal of Cleaner Production. 2020;275:122882

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The study investigates for the first time the possibility of using carbon rich paper recovery sludge, and nitrogen rich meat processing industry waste as cultivation medium for the production of high value enzymes needed in the respective industries. The complex cellulose rich deinking sludge was able to support the growth of many industrially relevant enzyme producing microorganisms (Bacillus licheniformis, Candida cylindracea, Aspergillus oryzae, Trichoderma reesei) and of recombinant enzyme producers (Escherichia coli and Pichia pastoris). Further detailed studies with Trichoderma reesei as model organism demonstrated that the organism was able to grow optimally in the presence of 40gL-1 paper sludge as carbon source and 67.5 gL-1 pasteurised blood as nitrogen source substituted in Mandels medium. Under these conditions cellulase activities up to 28.1 nkat FPU were achieved. Anyhow, to achieve these results pretreatment of both waste streams is inevitable. In summary, this study provides the practical basis for a valorisation systems of paper industry waste to produce valuable enzymes to be used on-site in paper processing or for other purposes.

Peer reviewed papers | 2017

Characteristics of adapted hydrogenotrophic community during biomethanation

Rachbauer L, Beyer R, Bochmann G, Fuchs W. Characteristics of adapted hydrogenotrophic community during biomethanation. Science of The Total Environment. 1 October 2017;595: 912-919.

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Peer reviewed papers | 2017

Characterization of polyhydroxyalkanoates produced by Synechocystis salina from digestate supernatant

Kovalcik A, Meixner K, Mihalic M, Zeilinger W, Fritz I, Fuchs W, Kucharczyk P, Stelzer F, Drosg B. Characterization of polyhydroxyalkanoates produced by Synechocystis salina from digestate supernatant. International Journal of Biological Macromolecules. 1 September 2017;102: 497-504.

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Peer reviewed papers | 2017

Maximizing the production of butyric acid from food waste as a precursor for ABE-fermentation

Stein UH, Wimmer B, Ortner M, Fuchs W, Bochmann G. Maximizing the production of butyric acid from food waste as a precursor for ABE-fermentation. Science of The Total Environment. 15 November 2017;598: 993-1000.

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Peer reviewed papers | 2017

Optimisation of continuous gas fermentation by immobilisation of acetate-producing Acetobacterium woodi

Steger, F, Rachbauer L, Windhagauer M, Montgomery LFR, Bochmann G. Optimisation of continuous gas fermentation by immobilisation of acetate-producing Acetobacterium woodi. Anaerobe. August 2017;46: 96-103

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Other Publications | 2017

Optimisation of continuous gas fermentation by immobilisation of acetate-producing Acetobacterium woodii.

Steger, F, Rachbauer L, Windhagauer M, Montgomery LFR, Bochmann G. Optimisation of continuous gas fermentation by immobilisation of acetate-producing Acetobacterium woodii. Anaerobe. Available online 22 June 2017

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Peer reviewed papers | 2017

Overcoming the bottlenecks of anaerobic digestion of olive mill solid waste by two-stage fermentation

Stoyanova E, Lundaa T, Bochmann G, Fuchs W. Overcoming the bottlenecks of anaerobic digestion of olive mill solid waste by two-stage fermentation. Environmental Technology (United Kingdom). 16 February 2017;38(4): 394-405.

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Peer reviewed papers | 2017

Sorghum, a sustainable feedstock for biogas production? Impact of climate, variety and harvesting time on maturity and biomass yield

Wannasek L Ortner M Amon B Amon T. Sorghum, a sustainable feedstock for biogas production? Impact of climate, variety and harvesting time on maturity and biomass yield. BIOMASS BIOENERG. 2017; 106: 137-145

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Peer reviewed papers | 2018

Cyanobacteria Biorefinery — Production of poly(3-hydroxybutyrate) with Synechocystis salina and utilisation of residual biomass

Meixner K, Kovalcik A, Sykacek E, Gruber-Brunhumer M, Zeilinger W, Markl K, Haas C, Fritz I, Mundigler N, Stelzer F, Neureiter M, Fuchs W, Drosg B. Cyanobacteria Biorefinery — Production of poly(3-hydroxybutyrate) with Synechocystis salina and utilisation of residual biomass. Journal of Biotechnology. 10 January 2018;265(10): 46-53

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Peer reviewed papers | 2019

Anaerobic Digestion of Pretreated Industrial Residues and Their Energetic Process Integration

Bochmann G, Pesta G, Rachbauer L, Gabauer W. Anaerobic Digestion of Pretreated Industrial Residues and Their Energetic Process Integration. Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology. June 2020. 8:487.

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The food and beverage industry offers a wide range of organic feedstocks for use in biogas production by means of anaerobic digestion (AD). Microorganisms convert organic compounds—solid, pasty, or liquid ones—within four steps to biogas mainly consisting of CH4 and CO2. Therefore, various conversion technologies are available with several examples worldwide to show for the successful implementation of biogas technologies on site. The food and beverage industry offer a huge potential for biogas technologies due to the sheer amount of process residues and their concurrent requirement for heat and power. The following study analyzes specific industries with respect to their implementation potential based on arising waste and heat and power demand. Due to their chemical composition, several feedstocks are resistant against microbiological degradation to a great extent. A combination of physical-, chemical-, and microbiological pretreatment are used to increase the biological availability of the feedstock. The following examples will discuss how to best implement AD technology in industrial processes. The brewery industry, dairy production, slaughterhouses, and sugar industry will serve as examples.

Conference presentations and posters | 2019

Bioenergy retrofits for Europe´s industry - the BIOFIT project (Horizon 2020)

Reumerman P, Vos J, Rutz D, Janssen R, Bacovsky D, Gröngröft A, Saastamoinen H, Karampinis E, Ballesteros M, Johansson D, Kazagic A, Wanders M, Meeusen M, Hull A, Kiartzis S, Garcia J. Bioenergy retrofits for Europe´s industry - the BIOFIT project (Horizon 2020). 27th European Biomass Conference & Exhibition (Poster). May 2019.

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Peer reviewed papers | 2019

Cultivation of the microalga Eustigmatos magnus in different photobioreactor geometries and subsequent anaerobic digestion of pre-treated biomass

Gruber-Brunhumer MR, Schöberl A, Zohar E, Koenigsberger S, Bochmann G, Uher B, Lang I, Schagerl M, Fuchs W, Drosg B. Cultivation of the microalga Eustigmatos magnus in different photobioreactor geometries and subsequent anaerobic digestion of pre-treated biomass. Biomass and Bioenergy 2019.105303.

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Microalgal biomass as a feedstock for biogas production is linked to the parameters biomass productivity and biogas yield. Besides an easy-to-use strain for anaerobic digestion, the photobioreactor (PBR) design is important. A microalgae strain selection revealed Eustigmatos magnus (SAG 36.89) as the most promising strain yielding an average of 100 mg total suspended solids (TSS) L−1 day−1. The strain was tested in cost-effective sleevebag-PBR-systems of 10 cm, 20 cm and 30 cm diameter facing the light from the front or laterally. Highest mean productivity on a volumetric basis was measured in PBRs with the lowest diameter (104 and 117 mg L−1 day−1. The highest productivity per m−2 was achieved in 10 cm PBRs with front light configuration (9.35 g TSS m−2 day−1). The lateral light configuration of 10 cm PBRs had positive aspects such as the lowest mean water demand to produce 1 kg TSS (481 L−1 kg−1) and the lowest mean energy demand for medium separation of 1 kg TSS (106 Wh). The concentrated microalgal biomass was then subjected to ultrasonication and thermal pre-treatment (90 °C and 120 °C) and tested in BMP tests. Mesophilic anaerobic mono-digestion of untreated microalgae biomass led to a methane (CH4) yield of 343 L−1 kg−1 volatile solids (VS). Thermal pre-treatment at 120 °C resulted in significantly increased CH4 yields of 430 L−1 kg−1 VS. As thermal pre-treatment can be easily installed nearby a biogas plant it could be an interesting option for AD of microalgal biomass with only little investment.

Peer reviewed papers | 2019

Double-cropping systems based on rye, maize and sorghum: Impact of variety and harvesting time on biomass and biogas yield

Wannasek L, Ortner M, Kaul HP, Amon B, Amon T. Double-cropping systems based on rye, maize and sorghum: Impact of variety and harvesting time on biomass and biogas yield. European Journal of Agronomy 2019.110:125934

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Climate change affects the frequency and intensity of extreme weather, the results of which include production losses and climate-induced crop productivity fluctuations.

Double-cropping systems (DCSs) have been suggested as a way to increase biomass-production while simultaneously delivering environmental benefits. In a three-year field-test, two DCSs based on maize and sorghum as the main crop and rye as the preceding winter crop were compared with each other and compared with 2 single-cropping systems (SCSs) of maize or sorghum; there were comparisons of growth dynamics, optimal harvesting and growing time as well as biomass and methane yield. In addition, the impact of variety and harvest time on the winter rye optimal biomass yield was studied.

The experiments clearly showed the superiority of the DCS over the SCS. Within the DCS, the rye/sorghum combination achieved significantly higher biomass yields compared to those of the rye/maize combination. The highest dry matter biomass yield was achieved during year 1 at 27.5 ± 2.4 t∙ha−1, during which winter rye contributed 8.3 ± 0.7 t∙ha−1 and sorghum contributed 19.2 ± 1.8 t∙ha−1. At the experimental location, which is influenced by a Pannonia climate (hot and dry), the rye/sorghum DCS was able to obtain average methane yields per hectare, 9300 m3, whereas the rye/maize combination reached 7400 m3. In contrast, the rye, maize and sorghum SCSs achieved methane yields of 4800, 6100 and 6500 m3 ha−1, respectively. The study revealed that the winter rye and sorghum DCS is a promising strategy to counteract climate change and thus guarantee crop yield stability.

Peer reviewed papers | 2019

Effects of partial maize silage substitution with microalgae on viscosity and biogas yields in continuous AD trials

Gruber-Brunhumer MR, Montgomery LFR, Nussbaumer M, Schoepp T, Zohar E, Muccio M, Ludwig I, Bochmann G, Fuchs W, Drosg B. Effects of partial maize silage substitution with microalgae on viscosity and biogas yields in continuous AD trials. Journal of Biotechnology 2019;295:80-89.

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The microalga Acutodesmus obliquus was investigated as a feedstock in semi-continuously fed anaerobic digestion trials, where A. obliquus was co-digested with pig slurry and maize silage. Maize silage was substituted by both 10% and 20% untreated, and 20% ultrasonicated microalgae biomass on a VS (volatile solids) basis. The substitution of maize silage with 20% of either ultrasonicated and untreated microalgae led to significantly lower biogas yields, i.e., 560 dm³ kg−1 VScorr in the reference compared to 516 and 509 dm³ kg-1VScorr for untreated and ultrasonicated microalgae substitution. Further, the viscosities in the different reactors were measured at an OLR of 3.5 g VS dm-3 d-1. However, all treatments with microalgae resulted in significantly lower viscosities. While the mean viscosity reached 0.503 Pa s in the reference reactor, mean viscosities were 53% lower in reactors where maize was substituted by 20% microalgae, i.e. 0.239 Pa s, at a constant rotation speed of 30 rpm. Reactors where maize was substituted by 20% ultrasonicated microalgae had a 32% lower viscosity, for 10% microalgae substitution a decrease of 8% was measured. Decreased viscosities have beneficial effect on the bioprocess and the economy in biogas plants. Nonetheless, with regard to other parameters, no positive effect on biogas yields by partial substitution with microalgae biomass was found. The application of microalgae may be an interesting option in anaerobic digestion when fibrous or lignocellulosic substances lead to high viscosities of the digested slurries. High production costs remain the bottleneck for making microalgae an interesting feedstock.

Conference presentations and posters | 2019

Nutrient recovery by digestate processing

Drosg B, Fuchs W. Nutrient recovery by digestate processing. Second COASTAL Biogas conference (Roskilde, Denmark). Nov 2019.

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Peer reviewed papers | 2019

Photoautotrophic production of poly-hydroxybutyrate – First detailed cost estimations

Panuschka S, Drosg B, Ellersdorfer M, Meixner K, Fritz I. Photoautotrophic production of poly-hydroxybutyrate – First detailed cost estimations. Algal Research 2019.41:101558.

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Political, economic and ecological reasons have recently been leading to efforts to replace fossil hydrocarbons and their products in a sustainable way. In order to replace fossil-based polymers, photoautotrophically produced polyhydroxybutryrates (PHBs), which are intracellular carbon storage products of nutrient-deprived microorganisms, seem to be a promising, biobased and biodegradable alternative. Although laboratory and pilot scale experiments have already been performed, no economic evaluation has been carried out so far. Consequently, valid claims on PHB production costs and the influence of different parameters, such as intracellular PHB-content, choice of cultivation system or location, cannot be made. In this study potential demonstration plants, equipped with different photoautotrophic cultivation systems and located at two sites, were designed to identify key parameters for a successful economic realization and implementation. Material and energy balances were determined to reveal specific PHB production costs for four different scenarios. Raw material and operating supply costs, expenditures for plant construction and operation as well as product amounts were determined using literature data for specified results from laboratory and pilot scale experiments. The lowest calculated PHB production price (24 € kg−1) accomplished in a thin-layer-system plant located in Southern Europe with 60% PHB-content of the produced biomass is significantly higher than the current market price of heterotrophically produced PHB. The most important cost factors in all scenarios are cultivation and harvesting costs accounting for 62 to 72% of the total specific production costs, followed by maintenance costs with a cost share of 11 to 14%. Therefore, the choice of a suitable cultivation system is the key driving factor for an economic PHB-production due to the currently high investment costs for photosynthetic biomass production systems. Specific production costs for a Southern compared to a Central European location amount to almost half of the costs.

Conference presentations and posters | 2020

Anaerobic Digestion Optimization for Biogas and Biomethane Production

Ionel I, Drosg B. Anaerobic Digestion Optimization for Biogas and Biomethane Production. 28th European Biomass Conference and Exhibition (oral presentation) 2020.

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Conference presentations and posters | 2020

Biological Methanation Processes

Drosg B, Wellinger A. Biological Methanation Processes. 28th European Biomass Conference and Exhibition (oral presentation) 2020.

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Other Publications | 2020

GreenGas die Alternative zu Erdgas

Strasser C, Luisser M, Drosg B. GreenGas die Alternative zu Erdgas. TGA Planung 2021. December 2020.

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Conference presentations and posters | 2020

Integration von Biogas in Bioprozesse - Nährstoffrückführung und Energiegewinnung

Drosg B. Integration von Biogas in Bioprozesse - Nährstoffrückführung und Energiegewinnung. 6th Central European Biomass Conference (oral presentation). 2020.

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Conference presentations and posters | 2020

PHB from cyanobacteria - Why phototrophic biotechnology is interesting for Europe.

Fritz I, Drosg B, Meixner K, Daffert C, Troschl C, Silvestrini L. PHB from cyanobacteria - Why phototrophic biotechnology is interesting for Europe. Eurobiotech 2020. 24-26 September 2020.

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Other Publications | 2021

Algae4Fish - Video

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Peer reviewed papers | 2021

Digestate as Sustainable Nutrient Source for Microalgae—Challenges and Prospects

Bauer L, Ranglová K, Masojidek J, Drosg B, Meixner K. Digestate as Sustainable Nutrient Source for Microalgae—Challenges and Prospects. Applied Sciences. 2021.11(3):1056

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The interest in microalgae products has been increasing, and therefore the cultivation industry is growing steadily. To reduce the environmental impact and production costs arising from nutrients, research needs to find alternatives to the currently used artificial nutrients. Microalgae cultivation in anaerobic effluents (more specifically, digestate) represents a promising strategy for increasing sustainability and obtaining valuable products. However, digestate must be processed prior to its use as nutrient source. Depending on its composition, different methods are suitable for removing solids (e.g., centrifugation) and adjusting nutrient concentrations and ratios (e.g., dilution, ammonia stripping). Moreover, the resulting cultivation medium must be light-permeable. Various studies show that growth rates comparable to those in artificial media can be achieved when proper digestate treatment is used. The necessary steps for obtaining a suitable cultivation medium also depend on the microalgae species to be cultivated. Concerning the application of the biomass, legal aspects and impurities originating from digestate must be considered. Furthermore, microalgae species and their application fields are essential criteria when selecting downstream processing methods (harvest, disintegration, dehydration, product purification). Microalgae grown on digestate can be used to produce various products (e.g., bioenergy, animal feed, bioplastics, and biofertilizers). This review gives insight into the origin and composition of digestate, processing options to meet requirements for microalgae cultivation and challenges regarding downstream processing and products.

Other papers | 2021

Increasing economic efficiency of cultivating microalgae by recycling process water

Neubauer M, Bauer L, Lanschützer E, Cayir P, Sonnleitner A, Meixner K, Fritz I, Drosg B. Increasing economic efficiency of cultivating microalgae by recycling process water. 29th European Biomass Conference and Exhibition, EUBCE 2021, 26-29 April 2021. 2021.

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This abstract gives a glimpse of the output revealed in a project focusing on recycling used medium from algae cultivation. In close cooperation with the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna, the Institute of Microbiology - The Czech Academy of Sciences as well as the algae biomass production company Ecoduna GmbH, it was possible to target industrial needs with scientific research approaches.

Peer reviewed papers | 2021

Valorisation of starch wastewater by anaerobic fermentation

Drosg B, Neubauer M, Marzynski M, Meixner K. Valorisation of starch wastewater by anaerobic fermentation. Applies Sciences (Switzerland). 2021.11(21):10482.

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Starch production is mainly focused on feedstocks such as corn, wheat and potato in the EU, whereas cassava, rice, and other feedstocks are utilised worldwide. In starch production, a high amount of wastewater is generated, which accumulates from different process steps such as washing, steeping, starch refining, saccharification and derivatisation. Valorisation of these wastewaters can help to improve the environmental impact as well as the economics of starch production. Anaerobic fermentation is a promising approach, and this review gives an overview of the different utilisation concepts outlined in the literature and the state of the technology. Among bioenergy recovery processes, biogas technology is widely applied at the industrial scale, whereas biohydrogen production is used at the research stage. Starch wastewater can also be used for the production of bulk chemicals such as acetone, ethanol, butanol or lactic acids by anaerobic microbes.

Conference presentations and posters | 2022

BEST-Day

Sustainable biorefineries and digitalization

Schwabl M, Wopienka E, Drosg B, Kuba M, Weber G, Eßl M, Gölles M, Kaiermayer V, Liedte P, Fuhrmann M. BEST-Day: Sustainable biorefineries and digitalization. 7th Central European Biomass Conference CEBC 2023. 18. January 2023. Graz. Oral Presentation.

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List of presentations:

Biorefineries

  • Learnings from biomass combustion towards future bioenergy applications (M. Schwabl)
  • Green Carbon perspectives for regional sourcing and decarbonization (E. Wopienka)
  • Bioconversion processes for renewable energy and/or biological carbon capture and utilisation (B. Drosg)
  • Second generation biomass gasification: The Syngas Platform Vienna – current status and outlook (M. Kuba)
  • Utilization of syngas for the production of fuel and chemicals – recent developments and outlook (G. Weber)

Digital methods, tools and sustainability

  • Evaluation of different numerical models for the prediction of NOx emissions of small-scale biomass boilers (M. Eßl)
  • Digitalization as the basis for the efficient and flexible operation of renewable energy technologies (M. Gölles)
  • Smart Control for Coupled District Heating Networks (V. Kaisermayer)
  • Integrated energy solutions for a decentral energy future - challenges and solutions (P. Liedtke)
  • Wood-Value-Tool: Techno-economic assessment of the forest-based sector in Austria (M. Fuhrmann)
Peer reviewed papers | 2022

Glycogen, poly(3-hydroxybutyrate) and pigment accumulation in three Synechocystis strains when exposed to a stepwise increasing salt stress

Meixner K, Daffert C, Dalnodar D, Mrázová K, Hrubanová K, Krzyzanek V, Nebesarova J, Samek O, Šedrlová Z, Slaninova E, Sedláček P, Obruča S, Fritz I. Glycogen, poly(3-hydroxybutyrate) and pigment accumulation in three Synechocystis strains when exposed to a stepwise increasing salt stress. Journal of Applied Phycology. June 2022. 34 (3):1227 - 1241.

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The cyanobacterial genus Synechocystis is of particular interest to science and industry because of its efficient phototrophic metabolism, its accumulation of the polymer poly(3-hydroxybutyrate) (PHB) and its ability to withstand or adapt to adverse growing conditions. One such condition is the increased salinity that can be caused by recycled or brackish water used in cultivation. While overall reduced growth is expected in response to salt stress, other metabolic responses relevant to the efficiency of phototrophic production of biomass or PHB (or both) have been experimentally observed in three Synechocystis strains at stepwise increasing salt concentrations. In response to recent reports on metabolic strategies to increase stress tolerance of heterotrophic and phototrophic bacteria, we focused particularly on the stress-induced response of Synechocystis strains in terms of PHB, glycogen and photoactive pigment dynamics. Of the three strains studied, the strain Synechocystis cf. salina CCALA192 proved to be the most tolerant to salt stress. In addition, this strain showed the highest PHB accumulation. All the three strains accumulated more PHB with increasing salinity, to the point where their photosystems were strongly inhibited and they could no longer produce enough energy to synthesize more PHB.

Reports | 2022

PHB Producing Cyanobacteria Found in the Neighborhood— Their Isolation, Purification and Performance Testing

Meixner K, Daffert C, Bauer L, Drosg B, Fritz I. PHB Producing Cyanobacteria Found in the Neighborhood— Their Isolation, Purification and Performance Testing. 2022.9:178

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Cyanobacteria are a large group of prokaryotic microalgae that are able to grow photo-autotrophically by utilizing sunlight and by assimilating carbon dioxide to build new biomass. One of the most interesting among many cyanobacteria cell components is the storage biopolymer polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB), a member of the group of polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA). Cyanobacteria occur in almost all habitats, ranging from freshwater to saltwater, freely drifting or adhered to solid surfaces or growing in the porewater of soil, they appear in meltwater of glaciers as well as in hot springs and can handle even high salinities and nutrient imbalances. The broad range of habitat conditions makes them interesting for biotechnological production in facilities located in such climate zones with the expectation of using the best adapted organisms in low-tech bioreactors instead of using “universal” strains, which require high technical effort to adapt the production conditions to the organism‘s need. These were the prerequisites for why and how we searched for locally adapted cyanobacteria in different habitats. Our manuscript provides insight to the sites we sampled, how we isolated and enriched, identified (morphology, 16S rDNA), tested (growth, PHB accumulation) and purified (physical and biochemical purification methods) promising PHB-producing cyanobacteria that can be used as robust production strains. Finally, we provide a guideline about how we managed to find potential production strains and prepared others for basic metabolism studies.

Peer reviewed papers | 2022

Trickle-Bed Bioreactors for Acetogenic H2/CO2 Conversion

Steger F, Ergal I, Daubek A, Loibl N, Rachbauer L, Fuchs W, Rittmann SKMR, Bochmann G. Trickle-Bed Bioreactors for Acetogenic H2/CO2 Conversion. Frontiers in Energy Research. 8 Apirl 2022.10;842284

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Acetic acid is an essential industrial building block and can be produced by acetogenic bacteria from molecular hydrogen (H2) and carbon dioxide (CO2). When gasses are supplied as substrates, bioreactor design plays an important role for their availability. Trickle-bed bioreactors (TBs) have an enhanced gas-to-liquid mass transfer and cells remain in the system by forming a biofilm on the carriers. So far, TBs have been investigated extensively for bio-methanation processes, whereas studies for their use in acetic acid production are rare. In this study, we evaluated the reproducibility of two parallel TBs for acetic acid production from H2:CO2 (= 70:30) by a mixed culture with a gas flow rate of 3.8 mL min−1 and a medium flow rate of 10 mL min−1. Additionally, the effect of glucose addition during the starting phase on the resulting products and microbial composition was investigated by setting up a third TB2. Partial medium exchanges to decrease the internal acetic acid concentration (AAC) combined with recycling of withdrawn cells had a positive impact on acetic acid production rates with maxima of around 1 g L−1 d−1 even at high AACs of 19–25 g L−1. Initial glucose addition resulted in the accumulation of unwanted butyric acid up to concentrations of 2.60 ± 0.64 g L−1. The maximum AAC of 40.84 g L−1 was obtained without initial glucose addition. The main families identified in the acetogenic TBs were Peptococcaceae, Ruminococcaceae, Planococcaceae, Enterobacteriaceae, Clostridiaceae, Lachnospiraceae, Dysgonomonadaceae and Tannerellaceae. We conclude that a TB is a viable solution for conversion of H2/CO2 to acetate using an anaerobic enrichment culture.

Peer reviewed papers | 2023

Anaerobic acidification of pressed sugar beet pulp for mcl-polyhydroxyalkanoates fermentation

Kacanski M, Knoll L, Nussbaumer M, Neuriter M, Drosg B. Anaerobic acidification of pressed sugar beet pulp for mcl-polyhydroxyalkanoates fermentation. Process Biocemistry.2023:131;235-243,

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Anaerobic acidification of pressed sugar beet pulp (PSBP) is a promising strategy for the transition towards a circular economy. In this work, volatile fatty acids were produced by anaerobic acidification of PSBP and subsequently converted to mcl-polyhydroxyalkanoates. The results point to mesophilic acidification as superior to thermophilic one. At the same time, the pH regulated at the value of 6.0 showed a decisive advantage over both the pH of 7.0 and the lack of pH regulation. Furthermore, the conditions with a hydraulic retention time (HRT) of 10 days significantly outperformed those with an HRT of 6 days. The best-performing process (mesophilic, pH controlled at 6, HRT of 10 days) was successfully scaled up to a 250 L reactor, reaching a volatile fatty acid (VFA) concentration of up to 27.8 g L-1. Finally, the produced VFA were investigated as feedstock for mcl-PHA producers, Pseudomonas citronellolis and Pseudomonas putida. Both strains grew and produced PHA successfully, with P. citronellolis reaching a biomass of 15.6 g L-1 with 38% of mcl-PHA, while P. putida grew to 15.2 g L-1 with a polymer content of 31%. This study proves that acidified PSBP is a valuable feedstock for mcl-PHA production and an important approach to developing biorefineries.

Other Publications | 2023

Chemical Looping for efficient biomass utilization

Schulze K, Kienzl N, Steiner T, Martini S, Priscak J. Chemical Looping for efficient biomass utilization. BEST Center Day. June 2023

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With respect to the climate objectives Chemical Looping (CL) processes constitute a promising alternative to traditional thermochemical conversion routes. Through the application of solid materials, so-called oxygen carriers (OC), instead of air as oxygen supply, CO2 can be easily separated from the flue gas. By this, biomass can be used for hydrogen production (Chemical Looping Hydrogen, CLH) or it can be burnt without CO2 emissions (Chemical Looping Combustion, CLC).

Other Publications | 2023

Exploring microbiomes in environmental biotechnological processes

Bauer L, Konegger H, Neubauer M, Ludiwg K, Drosg B. Exploring microbiomes in environmental biotechnological processes. BEST Center Day. 28 June 2023

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Many processes in environmental biotechnology are working due to the presence of a mix of microbes, with each group playing a specific role, like being responsible for one step of a multistage conversion process. Even in industrial fermentations which have the purpose of producing biomass of one specific microorganism, an accompanying flora of other microbes is almost always present.

Other Publications | 2023

Wastewater2Hydrogen

Biotechnological Hydrogen Production from Industrial Wastewater

Neubauer M, Pummer R, Neuhauser W, Bauer L, Fuchs W, Drosg B. Wastewater2Hydrogen. BEST Center Day. 28 June 2023

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Global hydrogen production is currently still based almost exclusively on fossil resources. A sustainable
hydrogen industry must be based on sustainable, renewable energy sources and resources.

Peer reviewed papers | 2024

Challenges, progress, and future perspectives for cyanobacterial polyhydroxyalkanoate production

Rueda E, Gonzalez‑Flo E, Mondal S, Forchhammer K, Arias DM, Ludwig K, Drosg B, Fritz I, Gonzalez‑Esquer CR, Pacheco S, García J. Challenges, progress, and future perspectives for cyanobacterial polyhydroxyalkanoate production. Reviews in Environmental Science and Biotechnology. 2024: 23 (2): 321 - 350. 10.1007/s11157-024-09689-0

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Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) are a promising bio-based alternative to traditional plastics derived from petroleum. Cyanobacteria are photosynthetic organisms that produce PHA from CO2 and sunlight, which can potentially reduce production costs and environmental footprint in comparison to heterotrophic bacteria cultures because (1) they utilize inorganic carbon sources for growth and (2) they do not require intensive aeration for oxygenation. Moreover, supplementing precursors such as propionate, acetate, valerate, etc., can be used to obtain various copolymers with plastic customizable properties in comparison to the classical homopolymers, such as polyhydroxybutyrate, PHB. This critical review covers the latest advances in PHA production, including recent discoveries in the metabolism interplay between PHA and glycogen production, and new insights into cultivation strategies that enhance PHA accumulation, and purification processes. This review also addresses the challenges and suggests potential solutions for a viable industrial PHAs production process.

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