Inicio  /  Environments  /  Vol: 6 Núm: 1 Par: January (2019)  /  Artículo

Vinasse Treatment within the Sugarcane-Ethanol Industry Using Ozone Combined with Anaerobic and Aerobic Microbial Processes

Cristiano E. R. Reis    
Heitor B. S. Bento    
Thiago M. Alves    
Ana K. F. Carvalho and Heizir F. De Castro    


The production of ethanol from sugarcane or molasses generates vinasse, a residue rich in organic matter and minerals. Vinasse is often used in fertilization and irrigation practices, which may be linked to negative environmental outcomes if excess is applied. Herein, we introduce a novel alternative to the treatment of vinasse promoting the reduction in Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) levels, phenolic compounds, and its mineral content through the coupling of ozone treatment, anaerobic digestion, and the aerobic growth of fungi. The ozone treatment is able to remove about 30% of the total COD, and deplete the concentration of phenolic compounds, while anaerobic digestion produces biogas and generates vinasse digestate, which is less biorecalcitrant than raw vinasse. The aerobic fungal growth generates oleaginous fungal biomass and promotes over 80% of Kjeldahl-Nitrogen in the vinasse. If vinasse were treated following the sequence of anaerobic digestion, aerobic fungal growth, and ozone treatment, the effluent would have about 95% of the COD decreased, complete removal of phenolic compounds, and over 80% of Kjeldahl-Nitrogen.

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