Effects of Oxygen Exposure on Anaerobic Digester Sludge

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Recuperative thickening of anaerobic digester sludge (thickening with solids return) can increase digester capacity, but common methods used to thicken digester sludge involve exposure to oxygen. This study monitored the effects of oxygen exposure on acetoclastic methanogens and found no significant difference between the acetate utilization rate for the digesting sludge samples with and without oxygen exposure on the gravity belt. However, continuous oxygen exposure over the course of seven days decreased the acetoclastic methanogen biomass in digester sludge. Finally, the long-term effect of slight oxygen exposure on lab-scale digesters did not harm digester volatile solids destruction but did decrease the acetate utilization rate, suggesting that the oxygen exposure did affect the health of the methanogens. This research suggests that slight oxygen exposure by recuperative thickening may not affect digester performance but may change the acetoclastic methanogen population structure and the health of the anaerobic community.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2175/193864704784342767

Publication date: January 1, 2004

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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