Highly selective butyric acid production by coupled acidogenesis and ion substitution electrodialysis

Wenyan Zhao, Binghua Yan, Zhiyong Jason Ren, Shanquan Wang, Yang Zhang, Heqing Jiang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Selective production of carboxylic acids (CAs) from mixed culture fermentation remains a difficult task in organic waste valorization. Herein, we developed a facile and sustainable carbon loop strategy to regulate the fermentation micro-environment and steer acidogenesis towards selective butyric acid production. This new ion substitution electrodialysis-anaerobic membrane bioreactor (ISED-AnMBR) integrated system demonstrated a high butyric acid production at 11.19 g/L with a mass fraction of 76.05%. In comparison, only 1.04 g/L with a mass fraction of 30.56% was observed in the uncoupled control reactor. The carbon recovery reached a maximum of 96.09% with the assistance of ISED. Inorganic carbon assimilation was believed to be an important contributor, which was verified by 13C isotopic tracing. Microbial community structure shows the dominance of Clostridia (80.16%) in the unique micro-environment (e.g., pH 4.80–5.50) controlled by ISED, which is believed beneficial to the growth of such fermentative bacteria with main products of butyric acid and acetic acid. In addition, the emergence of chain elongators such as Clostridium sensu stricto 12 was observed to have a great influence on butyric acid production. This work provides a new approach to generate tailored longer chain carboxylic acids from organic waste with high titer thus contributing to a circular economy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number119228
JournalWater Research
StatePublished - Nov 1 2022
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


  • Acidogenic fermentation
  • Anaerobic membrane bioreactor
  • Closed carbon loop
  • Electrodialysis
  • Inorganic carbon


Dive into the research topics of 'Highly selective butyric acid production by coupled acidogenesis and ion substitution electrodialysis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this