Treatment and Valorisation of Palm Oil Mill Effluent (Pome) Through Production of

Microbial Biomass.


Palm oil mill effluent (POME) is high strength wastewater capable of polluting the environment. It is produced in large quantities in Nigeria and is amenable to microbial degradation.

The use of POME as microbial fermentation media is largely due to the fact that POME contains high concentrations of carbohydrates  proteins,  and  nitrogenous  compounds in addition to minerals.

The POME used in this study contained 114800  mg/l  chemical  oxygen demand (COD), 76000 mg/l total solids (TS), 44000 mg/l total  suspended  solids (TSS), 32000 mg/l total dissolved solids (TDS) and 3580 mg/l total lipids.

Yeasts  isolated from stale POME, POME dump site and palm wine were used to treat POME and to produce yeast biomass. Seven yeasts were isolated from palm wine (L31, V42 and V42), stale POME (TWDC and TWC) and POME dump site (TMCC and SP5).

Based on their colonial and physiological characteristics the isolates were identified as Saccharomyces species (L31 and V42), Pichia sp (V45 and SP5) and Candida sp (TMCC,  TWC and  TWDC).

These  isolates were screened for their  ability to  produce biomass and  degrade POME by reducing the COD of POME.

POME was used as sole source of carbon and nitrogen and the fermentation was carried out at 150 rpm, 28 ± 2oC using an inoculum size of 1ml of 106 cells for 25 ml of fermentation medium (POME).

Out of the seven yeast isolates screened for  biomass production, isolate L31 gave the highest biomass yield of 4.42 g/l as well as the highest COD removal of 83% after 96 h and was selected for optimization studies on microbial biomass production.

The optimal conditions for microbial biomass protein production were 100% (undiluted) POME concentration, C: N ratio of 10:1 and peptone as nitrogen supplement.

The amino acid profile of final microbial biomass protein of L31 showed that it is rich  in  all essential and non-essential amino acids and could be used in the enrichment for the supplementation of animal feeds.


Background Of Study

Waste generation is an unavoidable component of our daily life. Almost all human activities generate waste. Wastes can be grouped based on the source into domestic, municipal, agricultural and industrial.

Agriculture and municipal sectors are the main contributors to the wastes produced (Ganiyu and Oloke, 2012).

Recent trends in food production have led to an increase in the rate of production of food processing by-products and wastes.

Generation of waste and by-products during processing of food is unavoidable and the amount and kind of waste produced, which consists primarily of the organic residue of processed raw materials,  can scarcely be altered if the quality of the finished product is to remain consistent.

The changing of economic, social, political and cultural values of the world has challenged many countries to effectively utilize industrial biotechnology for a friendly way of disposing wastes (Zvidzai et al., 2007).

Instead of treating these by-products as waste and land filling them,  many food firms are turning them into useful products.

One of the most important environmental problems of the agro-food sector is the high organic content of its effluents and residues, which implies a high treatment cost.

However, these effluents and residues have a great number of organic compounds with  a  high  nutritional value (proteins, oils, sugars, vitamins, colourants and antioxidants) (Tramantzas et al., 2002).

The main by-product in palm oil production is a liquid sludge waste known as palm oil mill effluent (POME) (Vairappan and Yen, 2008).

Due to the organic composition of POME, it is identified as one of the world’s most polluting wastewater with very high average values of chemical oxygen demand (COD) and biological oxygen demand (BOD) of about 50000mg/l and 25000mg/l respectively(Ahmed, 2009).

The cheapest way of discharging of POME is to release it into the river, since POME is a non toxic oily waste.


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