End-product inhibition and acidification limit biowaste fermentation efficiency

Maraike Probst, Andreas Walter, Gilbert Dreschke, Flavio Fornasier, Thomas Pümpel, Janette Walde, Heribert Insam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Converting waste to resource may mitigate environmental pollution and global resource limitation. The platform chemical lactic acid can be produced from biowaste and its liquid fraction after solid-liquid separation. A fermentation step for lactic acid production prior to the conversion of biowaste to methane and organic fertilizer would increase the biowaste's value. Despite the huge potential and promising results of the treatment procedure, the reasons for efficiency loss observed previously need to be addressed in order to pave the way for an up-scaling of the fermentation process. Therefore, biowaste was fermented applying pH control, acid extraction and glucose addition in order to counteract reasons such as acidification, end-product inhibition and carbon limitation, respectively. The fermentation was competitive compared to other renewable lactic acid production substrates and reached a maximum productivity of >5gClactic acidg-1Ch-1 and a concentration exceeding 30gL-1. A combination of acidification and end-product inhibition was identified as major obstacle. Lactobacillus crispatus and its closest relatives were identified as key lactic acid producers within the process using Miseq Illumina sequencing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)540-549
Number of pages10
JournalBioresource Technology
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Fermentation
  • Lactate dehydrogenase
  • Lactobacillus
  • Microbiome
  • Waste treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Waste Management and Disposal


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