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Effect of influent COD/SO42− ratios on UASB treatment of a synthetic sulfate-containing wastewater

Hu, Yong, Jing, Zhaoqian, Sudo, Yuta, Niu, Qigui, Du, Jingru, Wu, Jiang, Li, Yu-You
Chemosphere 2015 v.130 pp. 24-33
Desulfovibrio, acetates, chemical oxygen demand, ethanol, fermentation, methane, methane production, oxidants, sulfates, wastewater
The effect of the chemical oxygen demand/sulfate (COD/SO42−) ratio on the anaerobic treatment of synthetic chemical wastewater containing acetate, ethanol, and sulfate, was investigated using a UASB reactor. The experimental results show that at a COD/SO42− ratio of 20 and a COD loading rate of 25.2gCODL−1d−1, a COD removal of as high as 87.8% was maintained. At a COD/SO42− ratio of 0.5 (sulfate concentration 6000mgL−1), however, the COD removal was 79.2% and the methane yield was 0.20LCH4gCOD−1. The conversion of influent COD to methane dropped from 80.5% to 54.4% as the COD/SO42− ratio decreased from 20 to 0.5. At all the COD/SO42− ratios applied, over 79.4% of the total electron flow was utilized by methane-producing archaea (MPA), indicating that methane fermentation was the predominant reaction. The majority of the methane was produced by acetoclastic MPA at high COD/SO42− ratios and both acetoclastic and hydrogenthrophic MPA at low COD/SO42− ratios. Only at low COD/SO42− ratios were SRB species such as Desulfovibrio found to play a key role in ethanol degradation, whereas all the SRB species were found to be incomplete oxidizers at both high and low COD/SO42− ratios.