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Brazilian Journal of Chemical Engineering

Print version ISSN 0104-6632


VERONEZ, R. G. et al. A simplified analysis of granule behavior in ASBR and UASB reactors treating low-strength synthetic wastewater. Braz. J. Chem. Eng. [online]. 2005, vol.22, n.3, pp. 361-369. ISSN 0104-6632.

This work presents an analysis of the changes observed in granule characteristics of sludge in the treatment of synthetic wastewater at a concentration of about 500 mgCOD/L in batch, fed-batch (ASBR) and continuous (UASB) bench-scale reactors under similar experimental conditions. Physical and microbiological properties of the granules were characterized as average particle size and sedimentation time and by optical and epifluorescence microscopy. Several samples were analyzed in order to identify the morphologies. Granules from sequencing batch and fed-batch reactors, either with or without mechanical mixing, did not undergo any physical or microbiological changes. However, during the experiment granules from the UASB reactor agglomerated due to the formation and accumulation of a viscous material, probably of microbial origin, when operated at low superficial velocities (0.072, 0.10 and 0.19 m/h). When the superficial velocity was increased to 8.0-10.0 m/h by means of liquid-phase recirculation, the granules from the UASB reactor underwent flocculation and the microbiological characteristics changed in such a way that the equilibrium of microbial diversity in the inoculum was not maintained. As a result, the only reactor that maintained efficiency and good solids retention during the assays was the ASBR, showing that there is a correlation between maintenance of microbial diversity and operating mode in the case of anaerobic treatment of low-strength wastewaters.

Keywords : Granule features; ASBR; UASB; Low-strength wastewater; Anaerobic treatment.

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