From polluting seafood wastes to energy. production of hydrogen and methane from raw chitin material by a two-phase process

S. Gorrasi, G. Izzo, G. Massini, A. Signorini, P. Barghini, M. Fenice

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)


Hydrogen is a clean energy carrier having great potential as alternative fuel. Despite its well-established production, by chemical/electrochemical processes, bio-conversion of organic wastes to hydrogen could be a sustainable alternative since the afore-mentioned methods require a lot of energy. Anaerobic digestion to bio-methane is considered a winning strategy to transform wastes into energy with reduction of environmental issues. Chitin is the second most abundant polysaccharide after cellulose. Huge amounts of chitinous wastes, produced from seafood industry and fungal fermentation plants, represent source of pollution if improperly disposed. In this paper the feasibility to obtain hydrogen and methane in a two-phase anaerobic bio-process using raw chitin was investigated. After a preliminary aerobic pre-hydrolysis, carried out by the chitinolytic fungus Lecanicillium muscarium CCFEE 5003, H2, was obtained by dark fermentation and CH4, subsequently, by further digestion. For best productions, pre-hydrolysis was optimised by response surface methodology. Highest hydrogen (147 ml/1) and methane (7713 ml/1) levels were obtained after 24 days of dark fermentation and 83 days of digestion, respectively. However, best productivities were obtained at day 14 and 30 for H2, and CH4, respectively. This work is the first attempt to use raw chitin to obtain these biofuels by dark fermentation and anaerobic digestion.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)526 - 536
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Environmental Protection and Ecology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

Cite this