Biological pretreatment of polysaccharidic wastes (PWs) is a cost-effective and environmentally friendly approach to improve the digestibility and utilization of these valuable substrates in dual-stage biohythane production. In order to reduce the prolonged incubation time and loss of carbohydrate during the pretreatment of PWs with Aspergillus fumigatus, a systematic optimization using Taguchi methodology resulted in an unprecedented recovery of soluble carbohydrates (362.84 mg g-1) within 5 days. The disruption and fragmentation of lignocellulosic structures in PWs, and possible saccharification of cellulose and hemicellulose components, increased its digestibility. A dual-stage biohythane production with pretreated PWs showed increased yield (214.13 mL g-1 VSadded), which was 56% higher than the corresponding value with the untreated PWs. This resulted in 47% higher energy recovery as biohythane in pretreated biomass compared to untreated biomass. Optimized fungal pretreatment is, therefore, an effective method to improve the digestibility of PWs and its subsequent conversion to biohythane.
Keywords: Acidogenic fermentation; Anaerobic digestion; Biohythane; Biomass pretreatment; Taguchi methodology.
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