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Comparison between kinetics of autochthonous marine bacteria in activated sludge and granular sludge systems at different salinity and SRTs

Corsino, Santo Fabio, Capodici, Marco, Di Pippo, Francesca, Tandoi, Valter, Torregrossa, Michele
Water research 2019 v.148 pp. 425-437
Rhodobacteraceae, activated sludge, ammonium, aquatic bacteria, biochemical pathways, biomass, denitrifying bacteria, granules, nitrites, nitrogen, nutrients, organic carbon, salinity, wastewater
Biological nutrient removal performances and kinetics of autochthonous marine biomass in forms of activated sludge and aerobic granular sludge were investigated under different salinity and sludge retention time (SRT). Both the biomasses, cultivated from a fish-canning wastewater, were subjected to stepwise increases in salinity (+2 gNaCl L−1), from 30 gNaCl L−1 up to 50 gNaCl L−1 with the aim to evaluate the maximum potential in withstanding salinity by the autochthonous marine biomass. Microbial marine species belonging to the genus of Cryomorphaceae and of Rhodobacteraceae were found dominant in both the systems at the maximum salinity tested (50 gNaCl L−1). The organic carbon was removed with a yield of approximately 98%, irrespective of the salinity. Similarly, nitrogen removal occurred via nitritation-denitritation and was not affected by salinity. The ammonium utilization rate and the nitrite utilization rate were approximately of 3.60 mgNH4-N gVSS−1h−1 and 10.0 mgNO2-N gVSS−1h−1, respectively, indicating a high activity of nitrifying and denitrifying bacteria. The granulation process did not provide significant improvements in the nutrients removal process likely due to the stepwise salinity increase strategy. Biomass activity and performances resulted affected by long SRT (27 days) due to salt accumulation within the activated sludge flocs and granules. In contrast, a lower SRT (14 days) favoured the discharge of the granules and flocs with higher inert content, thereby enhancing the biomass renewing.The obtained results demonstrated that the use of autochthonous-halophilic bacteria represents a valuable solution for the treatment of high-strength carbon and nitrogen saline wastewater in a wide range of salinity. Besides, the stepwise increase in salinity and the operation at low SRT enabled high metabolic activity and to avoid excessive accumulation of salt within the biomass aggregates, limiting their physical destructuration due to the increase in loosely-bound exopolymers.