Preliminary study of acrylamide monomer decomposition during methane fermentation of dairy waste sludge

Polyacrylamide (PAM) used in sludge dewatering exists widely in high-solid anaerobic digestion. Acrylamide is registered in the list of chemicals demonstrating toxic, carcinogenic and mutagenic properties. Therefore, it is reasonable to ask about the mobility of such residual substances in the environment. This study was carried out to assess the impact of the mesophilic (39±1 C) and thermophilic (54±1 C) fermentation process on the level of acrylamide monomer (AMD) content in the dairy sludge. The material was analysed using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) for quantification of AMD. The results indicate that the process of methane fermentation continues regardless of the temperature effects on the degradation of AMD in dairy sludge. The degree of reduction of acrylamide monomer for thermophilic fermentation is 100%, while for mesophilic fermentation it is 91%. In practice, this means that biogas technology eliminates the risk of AMD migration to plant tissue. Moreover, it should be stressed that 90% of cumulative biogas and methane production was reached one week earlier under thermophilic conditions – the dynamics of the methanisation process were over 20% faster.

Authors: Mroczek E, Konieczny P, Lewicki A, Wa?kiewicz A, Dach J. ;Full Source: Journal of Environmental Science (China). 2016 Jul; 45:108-14. doi: 10.1016/j.jes.2015.12.016. Epub 2016 Feb 13. ;