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      Resource Recovery from Wastewater by Biological Technologies: Opportunities, Challenges, and Prospects


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          Limits in resource availability are driving a change in current societal production systems, changing the focus from residues treatment, such as wastewater treatment, toward resource recovery. Biotechnological processes offer an economic and versatile way to concentrate and transform resources from waste/wastewater into valuable products, which is a prerequisite for the technological development of a cradle-to-cradle bio-based economy. This review identifies emerging technologies that enable resource recovery across the wastewater treatment cycle. As such, bioenergy in the form of biohydrogen (by photo and dark fermentation processes) and biogas (during anaerobic digestion processes) have been classic targets, whereby, direct transformation of lipidic biomass into biodiesel also gained attention. This concept is similar to previous biofuel concepts, but more sustainable, as third generation biofuels and other resources can be produced from waste biomass. The production of high value biopolymers (e.g., for bioplastics manufacturing) from organic acids, hydrogen, and methane is another option for carbon recovery. The recovery of carbon and nutrients can be achieved by organic fertilizer production, or single cell protein generation (depending on the source) which may be utilized as feed, feed additives, next generation fertilizers, or even as probiotics. Additionlly, chemical oxidation-reduction and bioelectrochemical systems can recover inorganics or synthesize organic products beyond the natural microbial metabolism. Anticipating the next generation of wastewater treatment plants driven by biological recovery technologies, this review is focused on the generation and re-synthesis of energetic resources and key resources to be recycled as raw materials in a cradle-to-cradle economy concept.

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          The ecology and biotechnology of sulphate-reducing bacteria.

          Sulphate-reducing bacteria (SRB) are anaerobic microorganisms that use sulphate as a terminal electron acceptor in, for example, the degradation of organic compounds. They are ubiquitous in anoxic habitats, where they have an important role in both the sulphur and carbon cycles. SRB can cause a serious problem for industries, such as the offshore oil industry, because of the production of sulphide, which is highly reactive, corrosive and toxic. However, these organisms can also be beneficial by removing sulphate and heavy metals from waste streams. Although SRB have been studied for more than a century, it is only with the recent emergence of new molecular biological and genomic techniques that we have begun to obtain detailed information on their way of life.
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            Conversion of wastes into bioelectricity and chemicals by using microbial electrochemical technologies.

            Waste biomass is a cheap and relatively abundant source of electrons for microbes capable of producing electrical current outside the cell. Rapidly developing microbial electrochemical technologies, such as microbial fuel cells, are part of a diverse platform of future sustainable energy and chemical production technologies. We review the key advances that will enable the use of exoelectrogenic microorganisms to generate biofuels, hydrogen gas, methane, and other valuable inorganic and organic chemicals. Moreover, we examine the key challenges for implementing these systems and compare them to similar renewable energy technologies. Although commercial development is already underway in several different applications, ranging from wastewater treatment to industrial chemical production, further research is needed regarding efficiency, scalability, system lifetimes, and reliability.
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              Review and evaluation of hydrogen production methods for better sustainability


                Author and article information

                Front Microbiol
                Front Microbiol
                Front. Microbiol.
                Frontiers in Microbiology
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                06 January 2017
                : 7
                : 2106
                [1] 1Group of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, School of Experimental Sciences and Technology, King Juan Carlos University Mostoles, Spain
                [2] 2Advanced Water Management Centre, University of Queensland, Brisbane QLD, Australia
                [3] 3CRC for Water Sensitive Cities, Clayton VIC, Australia
                [4] 4Centre for Solid Waste Bioprocessing, School of Civil Engineering, University of Queensland, Brisbane QLD, Australia
                [5] 5Centre for Microbial Electrochemical Systems, University of Queensland, Brisbane QLD, Australia
                Author notes

                Edited by: Pankaj Kumar Arora, Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Rohilkhand University, India

                Reviewed by: Naresh Singhal, University of Auckland, New Zealand; Sachin Kumar, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, USA

                *Correspondence: Daniel Puyol, daniel.puyol@ 123456urjc.es Damien J. Batstone, d.batstone@ 123456awmc.uq.edu.au

                This article was submitted to Microbiotechnology, Ecotoxicology and Bioremediation, a section of the journal Frontiers in Microbiology

                Copyright © 2017 Puyol, Batstone, Hülsen, Astals, Peces and Krömer.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                : 05 July 2016
                : 13 December 2016
                Page count
                Figures: 2, Tables: 4, Equations: 0, References: 229, Pages: 23, Words: 0
                Funded by: Cooperative Research Centres, Australian Government Department of Industry 10.13039/501100003327
                Award ID: Cooperative Research Centre for Water Sensitive Cities, Project 2.1

                Microbiology & Virology
                circular economy,cradle-to-cradle,resource recovery,water-energy nexus,biological processes,wastewater treatment


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