Effects of sludge age on anaerobic acidification of waste activated sludge: Volatile fatty acids production and phosphorus release

Bin Dong , Sisi Chen , Xiaohu Dai , Dianhai Yang


Received December 10, 2020,Revised , Accepted December 24, 2020, Available online January 07, 2021

Volume 33,2021,Pages 11-21

Effects of sludge age on volatile fatty acids (VFAs) production and Phosphorus (P) release during anaerobic acidification of waste activated sludge (WAS) were investigated. Sequencing batch reactors (SBR) fed with simulating domestic sewage were applied to produce WAS of different sludge ages, and batch tests were used for anaerobic acidification. The maximum dissolved total organic carbon, release of  PO43+P, and accumulation of acetate (C2), propionate (C3), butyrate (C4), and valerate (C5) decreased by 56.2%, 55.8%, 52.6%, 43.7%, 82.4% and 84.8%, respectively, as the sludge age of WAS increased from 5 to 40 days. Limited degradation of protein played a dominating role in decreasing DTOC and VFAs production. Moreover, the increase in molecular weight of organics and organic nitrogen content in the supernatant after acidification suggested that the refractory protein in WAS increased as sludge age extended. Although the production of C2, C3, C4, and C5 from WAS decreased as the sludge age increased, the proportions of C2 and C3 in VFAs increased, which might be due to the declined production of C5 from protein and the faded genus Dechlorobacter. Keeping sludge age of WAS at a relatively low level (<10 days) is more appropriate for anaerobic acidification of WAS as internal carbon sources and P resource.

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