Influence of carbon source on nutrient removal performance and physical-chemical characteristics of aerobic granular sludge.Environ Technol 2015; 36(17):2161-7ET
The impact of carbon source variation on the physical and chemical characteristics of aerobic granular sludge and its biological nutrient (nitrogen and phosphorus) removal performance was investigated. Two identical sequencing batch reactors, R1 and R2, were set up. Granular biomass was cultivated to maturity using acetate-based synthetic wastewater. After mature granules in both reactors with simultaneous chemical oxygen demand (COD), ammonium and phosphorus removal capability were achieved, the feed of R2 was changed to municipal wastewater and R1 was continued on synthetic feed as control. Biological phosphorus removal was completely inhibited in R2 due to lack of readily biodegradable COD; however, the biomass maintained high ammonium and COD removal efficiencies. The disintegration of the granules in R2 occurred during the first two weeks after the change of feed, but it did not have significant impacts on settling properties of the sludge. Re-granulation of the biomass in R2 was then observed within 30 d after granules' disintegration when the biomass acclimated to the new substrate. The granular biomass in R1 and R2 maintained a Sludge Volume Index close to 60 and 47 mL g(-1), respectively, during the experimental period. It was concluded that changing the carbon source from readily biodegradable acetate to the more complex ones present in municipal wastewater did not have significant impacts on aerobic granular sludge characteristics; it particularly did not affect its settling properties. However, sufficient readily biodegradable carbon would have to be provided to maintain simultaneous biological nitrate and phosphorus removal.