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Reduced sludge production in a membrane bioreactor by uncoupling metabolism and its effect on phosphorus accumulation in the biomass

Na, Ji-Hun, Nam, Duck-Hyun, Ko, Byeong-Gon, Lee, Chae-Young, Kang, Ki-Hoon
Environmental technology 2017 v.38 no.23 pp. 3007-3015
activated sludge, biomass, chemical oxygen demand, environmental technology, fractionation, growth retardation, membrane bioreactors, metabolism, microorganisms, nitrogen content, nutrients, perchloric acid, phosphates, phosphorus, recycling, total suspended solids
Due to its limited recycling or reuse, treatment and disposal of excess waste activated sludge has been a major challenge. As a preemptive method, therefore, uncoupling metabolism for reduced sludge production has been investigated recently. In this study, we operated a pilot-scale A ²O-membrane bioreactor (MBR) system incorporating an anaerobic sludge holding tank (SHT) in a sludge recycling line to induce uncoupling metabolism, and investigated sludge production and treatment efficiency. After operation for ≥1 year, the Y ₒbₛ value was estimated to be 0.041 g mixed liquor suspended solid (MLSS)/g chemical oxygen demand with 198.7 days of solids retention time (SRT). This Y ₒbₛ value was markedly lower than those reported previously. Since MBR can be operated with a relatively high MLSS and prolonged SRT, the greatest reduction was achieved by combination with uncoupling metabolism. Phosphate fractionation experiments of the MLSS from the pilot MBR suggested the total phosphate content of microorganisms was 47.0 mg P/g mixed liquor volatile suspended solid; 83% higher than that of the activated sludge process and 49% higher than that of the conventional A ²O process. Of the increased phosphate contents, that of the acid-insoluble polyphosphate (AISP) fraction was greatest, suggesting that growth inhibition by uncoupling metabolism stimulates AISP synthesis, which can be utilized under growth-limiting conditions. Abbreviations : AISP: acid-insoluble polyphosphate; ASP: acid-soluble polyphosphate; BNR: biological nutrients removal; EPS: extracellular polymeric substance; LMH: L/m ² h; MBR: membrane bioreactor; OST: oxic-settling-anaerobic; PAO: phosphate accumulation organism; PCA: perchloric acid; SBR: sequencing batch reactor; SHT: sludge holding tank; SRT: solids retention time; TN: total nitrogen; TP: total phosphate; WAS: waste activated sludge