Anaerobically digested biosolids odor generation and pathogen indicator regrowth after dewatering

Yen Chih Chen, Matthew J. Higgins, Steven M. Beightol, Sudhir N. Murthy, William E. Toffey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Citations (SciVal)


The objective of this research was to investigate whether a preferential stimulation of microorganisms in anaerobically digested biosolids can occur after dewatering and if it can lead to pathogen indicator regrowth and odor generation upon storage. Laboratory incubation simulating biosolids storage indicates that both odorant generation, based on total volatile organic sulfur compound concentrations (TVOSCs) and pathogen indicator regrowth, based on fecal coliform densities follow similar formation and reduction patterns. The formation and reduction patterns of both odor compounds and fecal coliforms imply that groups of microorganism are induced if shearing disturbance is imposed during dewatering, but a secondary stabilization can be achieved soon after 1-2 weeks of storage. The occurrence of the induction is likely the microbial response to substrate release and environmental changes, such as oxygen, resulting from centrifuge shearing. The new conditions favor the growth of fecal coliforms and odor producing bacteria, and therefore, results in the observed fecal coliforms regrowth and odor accumulation during subsequent storage. However, when both substrate and oxygen deplete, a secondary stabilization can be achieved, and both odor and fecal coliforms density will drop.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2616-2626
Number of pages11
JournalWater Research
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Ecological Modeling
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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