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Effects of Feeding Patterns on Extracellular Polymer Substances (EPS) and Digestibility of Activated Sludge

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Extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) are the key components of activated sludge flocs and are known to be closely related to the physiochemical properties of activated sludge. The current study investigated the effect of feeding patterns on formation and composition of activated sludge EPS and the influence of EPS on sludge digestion under both anaerobic and aerobic conditions. To generate activated sludge, sequencing batch reactors (SBR) with slow and fast feeding were used to mimic the feeding conditions prevalent in continuously fed stirred tank reactor (CSTR) and plug flow type reactor (PFR). The results showed that the quantity of EPS varied along with the reactor operation. The CSTR-mimicking reactor was more likely to generate less digestible sludge under anaerobic conditions. The differences in EPS-protein profiles indicated that substrates from influent wastewater are invested for different purposes when the feeding condition is varied. The quantity of EPS usually negatively affected the digestibility of activated sludge under normal digestion conditions. Further research on the role of EPS in sludge digestion and the effect of iron addition on different types of reactor are currently underway.
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Keywords: Activated sludge; CSTR; EPS; PFR; digestibility; volatile solids reduction (VSR)

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 January 2010

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