Anaerobic digestion of distillery spent wash: influence of enzymatic pre-treatment of intact yeast cells
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The potential benefits of enzymatic digestion of intact yeast cells on anaerobic digestion of Scotch whisky distillery spent wash and pot ale were investigated. Various yeast cell wall hydrolytic enzymes were studied based on their effect on dissolution of cell wall glucan and mannoprotein. The synergistic activity of beta-glucanase and protease showed greater than 90% yeast cell digestion at 37 °C in 24 h. The widely-used industrial enzyme papain showed 95% yeast cell digestion in spent wash at 1% enzyme concentration within 22 h at 50 °C. Anaerobic digestion of pot ale residues containing intact yeast cells pre-treated with lytic enzymes showed COD reductions of 87%, compared with only 13% without enzymes. Similar results were observed with distillery spent wash centrate. The hydrolysis of intact yeast cells in distillery liquid residues was found to be a rate-limiting step in anaerobic treatment of such residues.