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Role of Membrane Biofilm in Psychrophilic Anaerobic Membrane Bioreactor for Domestic Wastewater Treatment

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Anaerobic membrane bioreactors (AnMBRs) combine anaerobic biological treatment and membrane separation in a single process and have been identified as a possible approach to increase the sustainability of domestic wastewater treatment. Results from bench-scale AnMBR treatment of domestic wastewater at psychrophilic temperatures indicate the potential to meet U.S. EPA's standards for secondary treatment with this technology. Observations during AnMBR operation indicate that the membrane biofilm provides a substantial part of the overall COD removal accomplished and that a trade-off exists between this COD removal and membrane fouling. A preliminary experiment indicated that the biofilm removes mainly soluble COD and that the mechanism of soluble COD removal is primarily biological. Biological activity in the biofilm produces additional methane and this combined with pressure gradients from membrane operation may increase methane solubility, limiting direct biogas recovery. This experiment also suggested that hydrogenotrophic methanogens may have increased activity in the biofilm relative to aceticlastic methanogens. This was affirmed through pyrosequencing of 16S ribosomal RNA genes in DNA extracted from AnMBR biofilm samples.

Keywords: Anaerobic membrane bioreactor; Biofilm; Methanogenesis; Psychrophilic; membrane fouling; pyrosequencing

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2011

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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 These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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