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PVA/CS and PVA/CS/Fe gel beads' synthesis mechanism and their performance in cultivating anaerobic granular sludge

Wang, Jinxing, Liang, Jidong, Sun, Li, Gao, Sha
Chemosphere 2019 v.219 pp. 130-139
Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, biomass, carbon, chitosan, crosslinking, energy, energy-dispersive X-ray analysis, gels, glucose, granules, hydrogen bonding, hydroxylamine, iron, lignin, mechanical properties, microorganisms, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, polyvinyl alcohol, scanning electron microscopes, scanning electron microscopy, sludge, stable isotopes, upflow anaerobic sludge blanket reactor, wastewater treatment, water pollution
Biomass washout from high-speed anaerobic suspended bed bio-reactors is still a challenge to their stable operation. Preserving active biomass to efficiently retain biomass in the reactor is one of the solutions to this problem. Herein, two carriers (polyvinyl alcohol/chitosan (PVA/CS) and PVA/CS/Fe gel beads) were prepared using the cross-linking method. The fourier transform infrared (FTIR) and 13C nuclear magnetic resonance (13C NMR) analyses showed that PVA/CS gel beads formed mainly through hydrogen-bonds (NH2OH-). Furthermore, FTIR, 13C NMR, energy dispersive spectrum (EDS), X-ray diffractometer (XRD) and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) analyses showed that PVA/CS/Fe gel beads formed mainly through chelate bond (NH2-FeM+OH-). The scanning electron microscope (SEM) results affirmed that the gel beads had rough and well-developed porous structure for the attachment of microbes. Furthermore, the abilities of gel beads on the cultivation of granular sludge in an up-flow anaerobic sludge bed (UASB) reactor were effectively demonstrated while treating wastewater polluted with glucose and alkali lignin. The results showed that the gel beads-assisted reactors had a higher performance than those without the gel beads. The cultivation of granules in these reactors was accelerated, while the granules became bigger and exhibited better settling velocities. The reactor with gel beads was easier to withstand a higher organic loading rate due to dense microbial aggregates, which were caused by more humic-like substance. Particularly, the reactor with PVA/CS/Fe gel beads was able to improve the overall robustness of the system due to stronger mechanical properties of gel beads, and also prevented cells detachment.