Risks of using EDTA as an agent for trace metals dosing in anaerobic digestion of olive mill solid waste

Low concentrations of trace elements in many organic wastes recommend their supplementation in order to avoid potential limitations. Different chelating agents have been used to ensure an adequate trace metal pool in the soluble fraction, by forming dissolved complexes. Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) is probably the most common, although several negative effects could be associated with its usage. Biomethane potential tests were performed using Olive Mill Solid Waste as the substrate, supplementing different combinations of Fe, Co, Ni, Ba, always under the presence of EDTA. Results show that Ni and Co slightly recovered biodegradability. However, Ba supplementation resulted in worsening the methane yield coefficient in all cases. High concentration of EDTA led to decrease in the activity of anaerobic digestion. High availability of EDTA induces the capture of trace metals like Co or Ni, key trace metals for anaerobic biomass activity. While supplementing trace metals, the addition of Ba and/or EDTA must be carefully considered.

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