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One of the natural colorants that gives dark brownish color to the molasses

distillery wastewater is melanoidins. They are brown colored complex polymeric compounds

(Arimi). They consist of a range of small to large polymeric molecules (Wang et al., 2011; Le et

al., 1998; Yaylayan and Kaminsky, 1998). They are formed during the last stage of the Millard

reaction as a result of heating amines and sugar (Arimi).

1. Effects of Distillery Wastewater to the Environment

Wastewater from distillery industries contains complex mixtures of different chemicals,

which leads to adverse pollution in the environment, especially to the receiving soil and water

streams, when discharged without prior treatment (Välitalo et al., 2017). Various studies have

analyzed organic pollutants in distillery wastewater (DWW) effluents which highlighted sufficient

harmful substances that were capable in damaging the ecosystem (Alizadeh et al., 2018; Besha et

al., 2017).

Due to their resistive properties, they have been found everywhere in lakes, rivers, ocean,

and even drinking waters. In fact (sunita varjani; Yunhong Pi) have studied the behavior and

characterization of these POPs, to which they discovered that POPs are major constituents to a

series of environmental problems due to their toxicity, potential hazards including human beings.

Wastewater Characterization. Distillery wastewater from cane molasses-based distillery

is considered as one of the most polluting industries because of the components that is present in

the wastewater like bagasse, pressmud, and molasses (Tapas). Aside from the components,

distillery wastewater also has characteristics or parameters that must be treated before sending it

back to the lakes or rivers. These characteristics are pH, chemical oxygen demand (COD), total
dissolved solids (TDS), biological oxygen demand (BOD), total suspended solids (TSS), oils, fats,

etc. (Ravndal et al., 2018; Krishnamoorthy et al., 2017). Distillery wastewater usually has a pH

of 4-4.6; COD of 85,000 – 110,000 ppm; TDS of 85,000 – 110,000 ppm and BOD of 25,000 –

35,000 ppm (Krishnamoorthy et al., 2017). If these characteristics or parameters are not treated it

may cause harmful effects to the environment like eutrophication potential, global warming

potential, toxicity, water usage, and land usage (Krishnamoorthy et al., 2017). Knowing these

characteristics are very important because they are essentials in designing and operating a

wastewater treatment plant to treat the wastewater efficiently.

Table 2. Major composition of raw distillery wastewater (RSW) - M/S Trichy Distilleries &
Chemicals Ltd. (Krishnamoorthy et al., 2017)

Table 2. Physico-chemical characteristics of various types of distillery wastewater.


Effects of Distillery Wastewater to Soil. The effects of distillery wastewater to the is

notable mainly due to the extreme amount of organic load and the large amount of volume

produced (Ioannou et al., 2015). The distillery wastewater may cause soil pollution if no treatment

is done and inappropriate land discharge. The distillery wastewater prevents seed germination,

reduces soil alkalinity, reduces the growth and yield of the crops, and causes deficiency of

manganese which is an important micronutrient for plants to perform photosynthesis, respiration,

and nitrogen assimilation (Chowdhary et al., 2018). It may also affect the properties of the

groundwater by affecting the color, pH, and electrical conductivity from the leaching of organic

and inorganic ions (Ioannou et al., 2015).

Effects of Distillery Wastewater to Water. Distillery wastewater is a dark colored

wastewater that contains critical measurements of some parameters like biological oxygen

demand, chemical oxygen demand, total solids, sulfate, phenolics, and various toxic metals

(Chowdhary et al., 2018; Krishnamoorthy et al., 2017). It also contains organic and inorganic

pollutants such as melanoidins, benzenepropanoic acid, di-butyl phthalate, etc. (Chowdhary et al.,

2018). These causes pollution to the environment like eutrophication and can also cause sickness

to humans or animals if it is intake. That’s why distillery wastewater must be treated before

bringing it back to the lakes or rivers because it can cause serious damage to humans and


Effects of Distillery Wastewater to Health. As mentioned earlier, distillery wastewater

contains large amount of organic and inorganic compounds. These organic and inorganic

compounds are substances that are genotoxic, carcinogenic, mutagenic, and endocrine disrupting

in nature (Chowdhary et al., 2018). Distillery wastewater also contains heavy metals like cobalt,

iron, lead, mercury, nickel, sodium, etc. wherein they cannot be degraded unlike organic

compounds (Okereke et al., 2016). These heavy metals will carry out through the food chain which

produces potential harm to human health. If these metals are intake by animals it will stay inside

their body, then if the human ate the flesh of that animal that contains the heavy metal it will pass

through the human which may cause diseases or illnesses (Okereke et al., 2016).