AbstractsBiology & Animal Science

Inhibition of anaerobic degradation of treated paper samples under simulated landfill conditions

by Liang Chen

Institution: Rutgers University
Department: Environmental Sciences
Degree: MS
Year: 2010
Keywords: Paper products – Biodegradation; Methanobacteriaceae; Sanitary landfills; Landfill gases
Record ID: 1877755
Full text PDF: http://hdl.rutgers.edu/1782.1/rucore10001600001.ETD.000056211


An innovative idea for formulating paper products with incorporated inhibitors or competitors of methanogenesis to reduce or postpone the methane potential of paper during degradation in landfills was examined in this proof of concept study. Three types of formulae, termed BioLithe™(A), BioLithe™(B), and BioLithe™(C) consisting of various chemical compounds known to inhibit methanogenesis or serve as competitive electron acceptors, were provided and were tested for their potential for methane reduction when combined with paper. The study utilized two research approaches. First, biogas evolution was measured and assayed for methane content and cumulative biogas and methane production were compared during decomposition of variously treated and untreated paper samples. Second, the microbial communities present during degradation of treated and untreated paper were characterized using polymerase chain reaction amplification of archaeal and bacterial 16S rRNA genes and separation of phylotypes by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis. These approaches were used to compare paper treated with different BioLithe formulations in four separate tests. In Test 1, BioLithe-saturated paper samples prepared in the laboratory were tested in laboratory-scale batch reactors that simulated anaerobic landfill conditions and their biogas and methane production was quantified and compared to those of untreated paper. Test 2 was designed to inspect impacts on methane generation of BioLithe solutions added to anaerobic medium. Test 3 was performed to assess methane production associated with artificially BioLithe-saturated paper prepared at different concentrations. Finally, industrially prepared BioLithe-treated paper was evaluated for methane potential in Test 4. Results show that BioLithe™(B) could effectively control paper degradation in relatively high amounts, or decrease methane generation correspondingly even with a relatively small amount of coating on paper, while the other two formulae BioLithe™(A) and BioLithe™(C) failed to control methanogenesis. Microbial communities existing during anaerobic paper degradation also shifted in response to the presence of BioLithe™(B) and this community shift might be associated with methane production performance.