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    The recovery of biomass energy from food waste through anaerobic digestion as an alternative to fossil energy is of great significance for the development of environmental sustainability and the circular economy. However, a substantial number of food additives (e.g., salt, allicin, capsaicin, allyl isothiocyanate, monosodium glutamate, and nonnutritive sweeteners) are present in food waste, and their interactions with anaerobic digestion might affect energy recovery, which is typically overlooked. This work describes the current understanding of the occurrence and fate of food additives in anaerobic digestion of food waste. The biotransformation pathways of food additives during anaerobic digestion are well discussed. In addition, important discoveries in the effects and underlying mechanisms of food additives on anaerobic digestion are reviewed. The results showed that most of the food additives had negative effects on anaerobic digestion by deactivating functional enzymes, thus inhibiting methane production. By reviewing the response of microbial communities to food additives, we can further improve our understanding of the impact of food additives on anaerobic digestion. Intriguingly, the possibility that food additives may promote the spread of antibiotic resistance genes, and thus threaten ecology and public health, is highlighted. Furthermore, strategies for mitigating the effects of food additives on anaerobic digestion are outlined in terms of optimal operation conditions, effectiveness, and reaction mechanisms, among which chemical methods have been widely used and are effective in promoting the degradation of food additives and increasing methane production. This review aims to advance our understanding of the fate and impact of food additives in anaerobic digestion and to spark novel research ideas for optimizing anaerobic digestion of organic solid waste.


    Qing Xu, Sha Long, Xuran Liu, Abing Duan, Mingting Du, Qi Lu, Ling Leng, Shao-Yuan Leu, Dongbo Wang. Insights into the Occurrence, Fate, Impacts, and Control of Food Additives in Food Waste Anaerobic Digestion: A Review. Environmental science & technology. 2023 May 02;57(17):6761-6775

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    PMID: 37070716

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