Cycling of volatile organic sulfur compounds in anaerobically digested biosolids and its implications for odors

Matthew J. Higgins, Yen Chih Chen, Douglas P. Yarosz, Sudhir N. Murthy, Nick A. Maas, Dietmar Glindemann, John T. Novak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

136 Scopus citations

Abstract

The objectives of this research were to elucidate the mechanisms for production and degradation of volatile organic sulfur compounds (VOSCs), key odor causing compounds produced by biosolids. These compounds included methanethiol (MT), dimethyl sulfide (DMS), and dimethyl disulfide (DMDS). A series of experiments were used to probe various pathways hypothesized to produce and degrade these VOSCs. The production of MT was found to mainly occur from degradation of methionine and the methylation of hydrogen sulfide. DMS was formed through the methylation of MT. DMDS was formed by MT oxidation. All three of the VOSCs were readily degraded by methanogens and a cyclic pathway was proposed to describe the production and degradation of VOSCs. The research demonstrated that the main source of VOSCs was the biodegradation of protein within the biosolids and the results provided a framework for understanding the production of odor from anaerobically digested sludges before and after dewatering.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)243-252
Number of pages10
JournalWater Environment Research
Volume78
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Ecological Modeling
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution

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