GCSP research stipend | Spring 2021

Use of Rabbit Fecal Matter for Lignin Degradation in Wastewater Treatment Systems

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This research investigates a method of biologically pretreating lignin using bacteria obtained from rabbit fecal samples, as rabbit diets consist largely of lignocellulose. Under anaerobic conditions, these microbes are expected to consume yard trimming such as grass and bushes with a high amount of lignin, producing volatile fatty acids (VFAs) and methane. VFAs are useful as commodity chemicals, while methane can be an energy or heat source. This research demonstrates that biologically pretreated lignocellulose samples produce more VFAs and methane than what would be produced in a typical anaerobic digester.

Student researcher

Smith Wingfield Pittman

Environmental engineering

Hometown: Tallahassee, Florida, United States

Graduation date: Spring 2022