Aquatic environment

Bulking sludge for PHA production:Energy saving and comparative storage capacity with well-settled sludge

Qinxue Wen , Zhiqiang Chen , Changyong Wang , Nanqi Ren


Received December 23, 2011,Revised January 07, 2012, Accepted , Available online October 08, 2012

Volume 24,2012,Pages 1744-1752

Two acetate-fed sequencing batch reactors (SBR) were operated under an aerobic dynamic feeding (ADF) model (SBR #2) and with anaerobic phase before aerobic phase (SBR #1) to select mixed cultures with a high polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) storage response. Although kinetic selection based on storage response should bring about a predominance of floc-formers, a bulking sludge with storage response comparable to well-settled sludge was steadily established. An anaerobic phase was introduced before the aerobic phase in the ADF model to improve the sludge settleability (SBR #1), however, due to the consequent increased feast/famine ratio, the performance of SBR #1, in terms of both the maximum PHB (polyhydroxybutyrate) cell content and ΔPHB, was lower than that of SBR #2. SBR #2 gradually reached a steady state while SBR #1 failed suddenly after 50 days of operation. The maximum specific substrate uptake rate and storage rate for the selected bulking sludge were 0.4 Cmol Ac/(Cmol and 0.18 Cmol Ac/(Cmol, respectively, resulting a yield of 0.45 Cmol PHB/(Cmol Ac) in SBR #2 in the culture enrichment phase. A maximum PHB content of 53% of total suspended solids and PHB storage rate of 1.36 Cmol Ac/(Cmol was achieved at 10.2 hr in batch accumulation tests under nitrogen starvation. The results indicated that it was feasible to utilize filamentous bacteria to accumulate PHA with a rate comparable to well-settled sludge. Furthermore, the lower dissolved oxygen demand of filamentous bacteria would save energy required for aeration in the culture enrichment stage.

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