Australian Centre for Water
and Environmental Biotechnology

AWMC Seminar Program: My (working) life in 30 minutes: from food waste AD to PPBs

My (working) life in 30 minutes: from food waste AD to PPBs 

Dr Gabriel Capson Tojo 

I will introduce my background, focusing mainly on my thesis work, which was focused on valorisation of commercial food waste via anaerobic processes.
The increasing production of food waste worldwide and new international regulations call for the development of novel processes for the treatment of this waste. Among all the existing possibilities, anaerobic processes represent a sustainable-modern approach that allows waste treatment and valorization. This PhD thesis aims at understanding the biochemical processes governing anaerobic digestion of food waste, eventually providing a stable process applicable at industrial scale.

As a first step, a screening was performed to elucidate the main parameter affecting anaerobic digestion of food waste, evaluating different substrate loads, solid contents, co-digestion proportions and microbial inocula from different origins. After concluding the critical importance of the inoculum used and the substrate load, different strategies for process stabilization for methane production were tested using consecutive batch reactors. This served for confirming the positive effect of supplementation of trace elements and to identify the main issue that was found: accumulation of propionic acid. Aiming at finding a solution, the final experiments were focused on assessing the capability of carbon-based conductive materials to solve this problem. The dosing of these materials favored the digestion kinetics, improving greatly the methane volumetric productivities.

This thesis provides novel insights, both on the main mechanisms governing food waste anaerobic digestion and on the implications that they present for the valorization of this waste. In addition, potential solutions for the complications found are given, aiding to the development of a feasible industrial digestion process.


Carbon cycle and climate change

Paula Andrea Hernandez Vallejo

Abstract: The earth’s climate has changed over the past century to a rate that has alarmed the scientist population. The global average temperature has increased, at the same time the oceans get more acidic. And other singularities all related to the perturbation of the carbon cycle. In this seminar we will approach some generalities about the carbon cycle and the fluxes of carbon between the different reservoirs; land, ocean, atmosphere and deep earth. The science behind of greenhouse effect and some notes about the repercussions in daily life that will leave us better informed about this subject that is a natural responsibility for the human race. After all, we only have one planet.

Event Details
Date & Time: 
Friday, 08 February 2019
9am - 10am
Venue: AIBN Building 75, Level 1 Seminar Room

Event Contact: