Fungi grown in pure cultures produce DNA- or RNA-containing particles smaller than spore size ( 3)-beta-D-glucans. In the 29 PM(1) samples, cultivable fungi were found in six samples and with a median concentration below detection level. Using microscopy, fungal spores were identified in 22 samples. The components NAGase and (1 --> 3)-beta-D-glucans, which are mainly associated with fungi, were present in all PM(1) samples. Thermophilic actinomycetes were present in 23 of the 29 PM(1) samples [average = 739 colony-forming units (CFU) m(-3)]. Cultivable and 'total bacteria' were found in average concentrations of, respectively, 249 CFU m(-3) and 1.8 x 10(5) m(-3). DNA- and RNA-containing particles of different lengths were counted by microscopy and revealed a high concentration of particles with a length of 0.5-1.5 microm and only few particles >1.5 microm. The number of cultivable fungi and beta-glucan in the total dust correlated significantly with the number of DNA/RNA-containing particles with lengths of between 1.0 and 1.5 microm, with DNA/RNA-containing particles >1.5 microm, and with other fungal components in PM(1) dust. Airborne beta-glucan and NAGase were found in PM(1) samples where no cultivable fungi were present, and beta-glucan and NAGase were found in higher concentrations per fungal spore in PM(1) dust than in total dust. This indicates that fungal particles smaller than fungal spore size are present in the air at the plants. Furthermore, many bacteria, including actinomycetes, were present in PM(1) dust. Only 0.2% of the bacteria in PM(1) dust were cultivable.
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Because microalgae are known for quick biomass growth and nutrient uptake, there has been much interest in their use in research on wastewater treatment methods. While many studies have concentrated on the algal treatment of wastewaters with low to medium ammonium concentrations, there are several liquid waste streams with high ammonium concentrations that microalgae could potentially treat. The aim of this paper was to test ammonium tolerance of the indigenous algae community of Lake Mälaren and to use this mixed consortia of algae to remove nutrients from biogas digestate. Algae from Lake Mälaren were cultivated in Jaworski's Medium containing a range of ammonium concentrations and the resulting algal growth was determined. The algae were able to grow at NH4-N concentrations of up to 200 mg L(-1) after which there was significant inhibition. To test the effectiveness of the lake water algae on the treatment of biogas digestate, different pre-cultivation set-ups and biogas digestate concentrations were tested. It was determined that mixing pre-cultivated suspension algae with 25% of biogas digestate by volume, resulting in an ammonium concentration of around 300 mg L(-1), produced the highest algal growth. The algae were effective in removing 72.8±2.2% of NH4-N and 41.4±41.4% of PO4-P.
The increased demand for waste wood (WW) as fuel in Swedish co-combustion facilities during the last years has increased the import of this material. Each country has different laws governing the use of chemicals and therefore the composition of the fuel will likely change when combining WW from different origins. To cope with this, enhanced knowledge is needed on WW composition and the performance of pre-treatment techniques for reduction of its contaminants. In this study, the chemical and physical characteristics of 500 WW samples collected at a co-combustion facility in Sweden between 2004 and 2013 were investigated to determine the variation of contaminant content over time. Multivariate data analysis was used for the interpretation of the data. The concentrations of all the studied contaminants varied widely between sampling occasions, demonstrating the highly variable composition of WW fuels. The efficiency of sieving as a pre-treatment measure to reduce the levels of contaminants was not sufficient, revealing that sieving should be used in combination with other pre-treatment methods. The results from this case study provide knowledge on waste wood composition that may benefit its management. This knowledge can be applied for selection of the most suitable pre-treatments to obtain high quality sustainable WW fuels.
This study describes a novel wastewater treatment technology suitable for small remote northern communities. The technology is based on an enhanced biodegradation of organic carbon through a combination of anaerobic methanogenic and microbial electrochemical (bioelectrochemical) degradation processes leading to biomethane production. The microbial electrochemical degradation is achieved in a membraneless flow-through bioanode-biocathode setup operating at an applied voltage below the water electrolysis threshold. Laboratory wastewater treatment tests conducted through a broad range of mesophilic and psychrophilic temperatures (5-23 °C) using synthetic wastewater showed a biochemical oxygen demand (BOD5) removal efficiency of 90-97% and an effluent BOD5 concentration as low as 7 mg L-1. An electricity consumption of 0.6 kWh kg-1 of chemical oxygen demand (COD) removed was observed. Low energy consumption coupled with enhanced methane production led to a net positive energy balance in the bioelectrochemical treatment system.
Interest in liquid biofuels production and use has increased worldwide as part of government policies to address the growing scarcity and riskiness of petroleum use, and, at least in theory, to help mitigate adverse global climate change. The existing biofuels markets are dominated by U.S. ethanol production based on cornstarch, Brazilian ethanol production based on sugarcane, and European biodiesel production based on rapeseed oil. Other promising efforts have included programs to shift toward the production and use of biofuels based on residues and waste materials from the agricultural and forestry sectors, and perennial grasses, such as switchgrass and miscanthus--so-called cellulosic ethanol. This article reviews these efforts and the recent literature in the context of ecological economics and sustainability science. Several common dimensions for sustainable biofuels are discussed: scale (resource assessment, land availability, and land use practices); efficiency (economic and energy); equity (geographic distribution of resources and the "food versus fuel" debate); socio-economic issues; and environmental effects and emissions. Recent proposals have been made for the development of sustainable biofuels criteria, culminating in standards released in Sweden in 2008 and a draft report from the international Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels. These criteria hold promise for accelerating a shift away from unsustainable biofuels based on grain, such as corn, and toward possible sustainable feedstock and production practices that may be able to meet a variety of social, economic, and environmental sustainability criteria.
Whilst life cycle assessment (LCA) boundaries are expanded to account for negative indirect consequences of bioenergy such as indirect land use change (ILUC), ecosystem services such as water purification sometimes delivered by perennial bioenergy crops are typically neglected in LCA studies. Consequential LCA was applied to evaluate the significance of nutrient interception and retention on the environmental balance of unfertilised energy willow planted on 50-m riparian buffer strips and drainage filtration zones in the Skåne region of Sweden. Excluding possible ILUC effects and considering oil heat substitution, strategically planted filter willow can achieve net global warming potential (GWP) and eutrophication potential (EP) savings of up to 11.9 Mg CO2e and 47 kg PO4e ha(-1) year(-1), respectively, compared with a GWP saving of 14.8 Mg CO2e ha(-1) year(-1) and an EP increase of 7 kg PO4e ha(-1) year(-1) for fertilised willow. Planting willow on appropriate buffer and filter zones throughout Skåne could avoid 626 Mg year(-1) PO4e nutrient loading to waters.
In this study two wet microalgae cultures and one dried microalgae culture were co-digested in different proportions with sewage sludge in mesophilic and thermophilic conditions. The aim was to evaluate if the co-digestion could lead to an increased efficiency of methane production compared to digestion of sewage sludge alone. The results showed that co-digestion with both wet and dried microalgae, in certain proportions, increased the biochemical methane potential (BMP) compared with digestion of sewage sludge alone in mesophilic conditions. The BMP was significantly higher than the calculated BMP in many of the mixtures. This synergetic effect was statistically significant in a mixture containing 63% (w/w VS based) undigested sewage sludge and 37% (w/w VS based) wet algae slurry, which produced 23% more methane than observed with undigested sewage sludge alone. The trend was that thermophilic co-digestion of microalgae and undigested sewage sludge did not give the same synergy.
Manure is one of the most common substrates for biogas production. Manure from dairy- and swine animals are often considered to stabilize the biogas process by contributing nutrients and trace elements needed for the biogas process. In this study two lab-scale reactors were used to evaluate the effects of trace element addition during co-digestion of manure from swine- and dairy animals with industrial waste. The substrate used contained high background concentrations of both cobalt and nickel, which are considered to be the most important trace elements. In the reactor receiving additional trace elements, the volatile fatty acids (VFA) concentration was 89% lower than in the control reactor. The lower VFA concentration contributed to a more digested digestate, and thus lower methane emissions in the subsequent storage. Also, the biogas production rate increased with 24% and the biogas production yield with 10%, both as a result of the additional trace elements at high organic loading rates. All in all, even though 50% of the feedstock consisted of manure, trace element addition resulted in multiple positive effects and a more reliable process with stable and high yield.
Tekniska verken i Linköping AB (publ.), Department of Biogas R&D, Box 1500, SE-581 15 Linköping, Sweden; Department of Microbiology, BioCenter, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Box 7025, SE-750 07 Uppsala, Sweden. Electronic address: email@example.com.
The effect of increasing organic loading rate (OLR) and simultaneously decreasing hydraulic retention time (HRT) during anaerobic digestion of sulphur- and nitrogen-rich thin stillage was investigated during operation of continuously stirred tank laboratory reactors at two different temperatures. The operating strategies and substrate were set in order to mimic an existing full-scale commercial biogas plant in Sweden. The reactors were operated for 554-570 days with a substrate mixture of thin stillage and milled grain, resulting in high ammonium concentrations (>4.5gL(-1)). Initially, one reactor was operated at 38°C, as in the full-scale plant, while in the experimental reactor the temperature was raised to 44°C. Both reactors were then subjected to increasing OLR (from 3.2 to 6.0gVSL(-1)d(-1)) and simultaneously decreasing HRT (from 45 to 24 days) to evaluate the effects of these operational strategies on process stability, hydrogen sulphide levels and microbial composition. The results showed that operation at 44°C was the most successful strategy, resulting in up to 22% higher methane yield compared with the mesophilic reactor, despite higher free ammonia concentration. Furthermore, kinetic studies revealed higher biogas production rate at 44°C compared with 38°C, while the level of hydrogen sulphide was not affected. Quantitative PCR analysis of the microbiological population showed that methanogenic archaea and syntrophic acetate-oxidising bacteria had responded to the new process temperature while sulphate-reducing bacteria were only marginally affected by the temperature-change.
Complex policy-making situations around bioenergy production and use require examination of the operational environment of the society and a participatory approach. This paper presents and demonstrates a three-phase decision-making framework for analysing the operational environment of strategies related to increased forest bioenergy targets. The framework is based on SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis and the Simple Multi-Attribute Rating Technique (SMART). Stakeholders of four case countries (Finland, Germany, Norway and Slovenia) defined the factors that affect the operational environments, classified in four pre-set categories (Forest Characteristics and Management, Policy Framework, Technology and Science, and Consumers and Society). The stakeholders participated in weighting of SWOT items for two future scenarios with SMART technique. The first scenario reflected the current 2020 targets (the Business-as-Usual scenario), and the second scenario contained a further increase in the targets (the Increase scenario). This framework can be applied to various problems of environmental management and also to other fields where public decision-making is combined with stakeholders' engagement. The case results show that the greatest differences between the scenarios appear in Germany, indicating a notably negative outlook for the Increase scenario, while the smallest differences were found in Finland. Policy Framework was a highly rated category across the countries, mainly with respect to weaknesses and threats. Intensified forest bioenergy harvesting and utilization has potentially wide country-specific impacts which need to be anticipated and considered in national policies and public dialogue.