Microbiological Monitoring in the Biodegradation of Food Waste

Microbiological Monitoring in the Biodegradation of Food Waste

Satish Chandra Pandey (Kumaun University, India), Anupam Pandey (Kumaun University, India), Tushar Joshi (Kumaun University, India), Veni Pande (Kumaun University, India), Diksha Sati (Kumaun University, India) and Mukesh Samant (Kumaun University, India)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 25
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7706-5.ch007


Food wastage and its exponential growth emerged as a global environmental issue, and its improper disposal has become a threat to human health and environment. Deterioration of food wastes releases various greenhouse gases that increases global warming and produces large amounts of toxins and foul odors, such as NH3 and H2S. To reduce this burden there is an urgent need to take appropriate measures by adopting standard management strategies. Microorganisms play an important role in food waste recycling, which appears to be cost-effective and causes less harm to the environment. One such process is anaerobic digestion, which has appeared as one of the most promising and eco-friendly approaches for management that converts organic waste into various useful products. Another sustainable approach is composting. Compost generated by food waste improves soil health and regenerates healthier environment. Thus, through the use of microorganisms, the study paves the way for effective management of food waste in order to minimize potential human and environmental risks.
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In the most recent years, Food wastage and its disposal has appeared as a serious environmental problem, attracting the attention of scientist, activists and consumers. It is the second largest category of solid waste sent to landfills. To lead a healthy life, most of the people in the world don’t even getting sufficient food for their daily requirement and are dying from hunger everyday than other deadly diseases like malaria, AIDS and tuberculosis. While on the other hand around one third of the food produced for human consumption in the world is being wasted everyday through different ways. Food wastage, holds both food waste and food loss, refer to the decline of food in later stages of the food supply chain intended for human consumption. It is not only immoral, but also associated with major economical loss and is severely affecting the world around us. Mainly the food loss occurs at the production level from household stream, as well as industrial and agricultural practices and the reasons are improper skills, poor practices, and lack of infrastructure which have been causing serious hazards for the environment. In India approximately 700 million tons of food waste is generated annually. This includes uneaten food, expired food, food preparation from restaurants, residences, industrial and institutional sources like school cafeteria and factory lunchrooms. The quantity of food waste generated worldwide in developed and developing countries is shown in figure 1. Proliferation of food waste leads to challenges for its safe disposal, with the waste being usually either burned or land filled (Nagavallemma KP et al., 2006). Out of which around 70% of waste holds compostable food items, causing major pollution (Bouallagui et al., 2004). Strategy for the mitigation and management of this type of waste is a major concern, causing increased food prices and the resources required and ultimately destroying environment. To reduce food loss and wastage, there should have food waste hierarchy (Figure 2) to (i) reduce food waste, (ii) redistribute it (e.g. to the homeless), (iii) reuse it as animal feed and compost, (iv) energy recovery through anaerobic digestion and at last, (v) dispose the remain. Composting and incineration are the process that produces greenhouse gases, while wastewater produced from anaerobic digestion causes acidification and eutrophication of local ecosystems. However, a huge population of naturally occurring microorganisms and effective microorganisms (EM) are there, with the potential to convert food waste into valuable outputs like plant nutrients, that help in reducing the C:N ratio to support soil productivity and also contribute in maintaining nutrient flows from one system to another and to minimize ecological imbalance (Novinscak, Filion, Surette, & A Allain, 2008; Umsakul, Dissara, & Srimuang, 2010). Thus waste management associated with the application of biodegradation properties of microorganisms are of great importance that can appropriately harness the process in a better way. Various studies reveals that effective microorganisms (EM) play prominent role in bioremediation, composting, agriculture, control household waste and can treat the leachate coming out from the garbage and remove the foul smell from decomposed food waste (Khaliq, Abbasi, & Hussain, 2006). The biological treatment of these wastes appears to be most cost-effective and causes less harm to the environment (Coker, 2006). This biological process of waste treatment is also known as composting. It is a self-heating, aerobic solid phase biodegradative process of organic materials under controlled conditions and has potential to enhance soil biochemical property (Giusquiani, Pagliai, Gigliotti, Businelli, & Benetti, 1995), biological activity (Pfotzer & Schüler, 1997), protect soil from erosion (P. Bazzoffi, S. Pellegrini, A. Rocchini, M. Morandi, & Grasselli, 1973) and protect plants from soil and seed borne pathogens (Schüler, Pikny, Nasir, & Vogtmann, 1993). Thus compost can be considered as soil conditioner that helps in enhancing crop yield. Another practice is anaerobic digestion (AD), a biological process that converts organic waste into several, potentially useful products, using microorganisms (Paritosh et al., 2017). Thus through utilizing metabolic versatility of microorganisms food waste can be easily treated but only 5-10% of microbial community play actual role of degradation for the target compound. So to enhance the power of microorganism for the breakdown of target compounds and to shorten the process, potential microbial consortium actively involved in the degradation of different components of food waste, under natural condition without producing foul odour should be made. The information contributes to the literatures on the efficient use of anaerobic digestion, composting methods, generation of energy (biogas), quality of compost and their possible effects on environment and human health.

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