Effects of sludge retention time, carbon and initial biomass concentrations on selection process: From activated sludge to polyhydroxyalkanoate accumulating cultures

Zhiqiang Chen , Long Huang , Qinxue Wen , Huichao Zhang , Zirui Guo


Received November 18, 2015,Revised March 30, 2016, Accepted March 31, 2016, Available online April 22, 2016

Volume 29,2017,Pages 76-84

Four sequence batch reactors (SBRs) fed by fermented sugar cane wastewater were continuously operated under the aerobic dynamic feeding (ADF) mode with different configurations of sludge retention time (SRT), carbon and initial biomass concentrations to enrich polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) accumulating mixed microbial cultures (MMCs) from municipal activated sludge. The stability of SBRs was investigated besides the enrichment performance. The microbial community structures of the enriched MMCs were analyzed using terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP). The optimum operating conditions for the enrichment process were: SRT of 5 days, carbon concentration of 2.52 g COD/L and initial biomass concentration of 3.65 g/L. The best enrichment performance in terms of both operating stability and PHA storage ability of enriched cultures (with the maximum PHA content and PHA storage yield (YPHA/S) of 61.26% and 0.68 mg COD/mg COD, respectively) was achieved under this condition. Effects of the SRT, carbon concentration and initial biomass concentration on the PHA accumulating MMCs selection process were discussed respectively. A new model including the segmentation of the enrichment process and the effects of SRT on each phase was proposed.

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