In India, cane molasses–based distilleries are major production centers of ethanol. These industries release a dark brown colored effluent known as spent wash, which even after anaerobic treatment retains the color. The commonly used practices of treatment fail to remove the color and COD.
A novel fungal consortium was developed for the treatment of this recalcitrant wastewater. The consortium was run on a bioreactor with undiluted distillery effluent for 40 days. In the first 14 days, 61.5% color and 65.4% COD removal was achieved. Further, the fungi were able to use wheat straw as carbon source as evidenced by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) while treating the distillery wastewater.
It is expected that such a treatment step will lead to development of a treatment technology for distillery wastewater without the need for diluting it.