National Research Council of Canada. NRC Biotechnology Research Institute
The impact of influent dissolved O₂ on the characteristics of anaerobic granular sludge was investigated at various dissolved O₂ concentrations (0.5–8.1 ppm) in 1- and 5-L laboratory-scale upflow anaerobic sludge bed (UASB)-like anaerobic/aerobic coupled reactors with a synthetic wastewater (carbon sources containing 75% sucrose and 25% acetate). The rate of dissolved O₂ supplied to the coupled reactor was as high as 0.40 g O₂/Lrx·d, and the anaerobic/aerobic coupled reactors maintained excellent methanogenic performances at a COD loading rate of 3 g COD/Lrx·d even after the reactors had been operated with dissolved O₂ for 3 months. The activities of granular sludge on various substrates (glucose, propionate, and hydrogen) were not impaired, and acetate activity was even improved over a short term. However, after 3 months of operation, slight declines on the acetoclastic activities of granules were observed in the coupled reactor receiving the recirculated fluid containing 8.1 ppm dissolved O₂. Methane yield in the anaerobic control reactor and anaerobic/aerobic coupled reactors revealed that a significant aerobic elimination (up to 30%) of substrate occurred in the coupled reactors, as expected. The presence of dissolved O₂ in the recirculated fluid resulted in the development of fluffy biolayers on the granule surface, which imposed a negative impact on the settleability of granular sludge and caused a slightly higher sludge washout. This research shows that the anaerobic/aerobic coupled reactor can be successfully operated under O₂-limited conditions and is an ideal engineered ecosystem integrating oxic and anaerobic niches.
Biotechnology and Bioengineering49, no. 6: 611–620.