Environmental Studies

Anaerobic reactors by Chernicharo, Carlos Augusto de Lemos

By Chernicharo, Carlos Augusto de Lemos

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The precipitates can settle, and then be incorporated into the sludge or be taken out from the system together with the effluent COD. 18 Anaerobic reactors Adsorption consists in a reaction where the soluble COD is adsorbed on the surface of the biomass particles present in the system. The most important example in practice is the fat adsorption on the bacterial sludge. In addition, a portion of insoluble COD (particulate) can be removed by nonbiological mechanisms, by means of its retention in the sludge.

16). 2), in view of a competition for substrate established between the sulfate-reducing bacteria and the fermentative, acetogenic and methanogenic microorganisms. Hence, two final products are formed: methane (by methanogenesis) and sulfide (by sulfate reduction). The magnitude of this competition is related to several aspects, particularly the pH and the COD/SO4 2− ratio in the wastewater. The production of sulfides may cause serious problems during the treatment of these wastewaters (adapted from Lettinga, 1995; Visser, 1995): • • • • The reduced SO4 2− results in the formation of H2 S, an inhibiting compound for the methanogenic microorganisms that can reduce their activity and the capacity of the anaerobic reactor.

To determine separately the portions of bicarbonate alkalinity and of alkalinity of the volatile acids, the titration of the sample can be performed in two stages, according to the methodology proposed by Ripley et al. 3: the second stage of titration provides the intermediate alkalinity (IA), practically equivalent to the alkalinity of the volatile acids An important aspect of determining the alkalinity in two stages refers to the significance of the IA/PA ratio. According to Ripley et al. 3 indicate the occurrence of disturbances in the anaerobic digestion process.

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