Asian Journal of Microbiology, Biotechnology & Environmental Sciences Paper

Vol 16, Issue 1, 2014; Page No.(225-231)

CHARACTERISTICS OF PALM OIL MILL EFFLUENT (POME) IN AN ANAEROBIC BIOGAS DIGESTER

B. NURUL ADELA, N. MUZZAMMIL, S.K. LOH AND Y.M. CHOO

Abstract

Palm oil mill effluent (POME) is generated during the palm oil milling process. The wastewater, POME undergoes anaerobic digestion in which biogas is emitted freely or captured as energy. Much research has been conducted to generate biogas from POME but little was focused on the microbial characteristics of the POME which is important to gauge the efficiency in POME treatment. In this study, microbial characterisation of POME from an anaerobic digester system operating at mesophilic temperature (34.29 ± 0.8°C) was conducted. The system consisted of two 15-m height digester tanks and POME at three different levels-each having a height of 5 m was collected. The gram staining properties of the isolated bacteria at each level were determined via morphological and microscopic studies. It was found that the lowest part of the first tank receiving the incoming effluent exhibited the highest microbial population (1.16 x106 CFU mL-1), thus facilitating anaerobic digestion of POME for biogas generation. Besides, volatile fatty acid (VFA) decreased from the bottom to the top of the tanks indicating that the system was able to create and maintain a stable and beneficial environment for the active microbial digestion in order to treat POME and generate biogas efficiently.

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