A New Device to Select Microcarriers for Biomass Immobilization: Application to an Anaerobic Consortium

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A new device was designed to compare the biomass retention capacity of different microcarriers. Microcarriers were placed in as many as 28 independent, parallel minibioreactors under selected and identical flow conditions. Sepiolite, pozzolana, clay, and foam glass (Poraver)were examined for biomass retention capacity, characterized in tenns of attached volatile solids and specific methanogenic activity, and examined with scanning electron microscopy. Sepiolite had the greatest biomass retention capacity and better internal porous volume for biomass immobilization. The specific methanogenic activity of the immobilized biomass in different materials was found to be inversely correlated to the amount of attached biomass. A maximum difference of 19% overall activity of the colonized material was observed between foam glass and pozzolana. Compared with the suspended biomass, a clear enhancement of syntrophic activity (up to 110%)and reduction of acetoclastic activity (up to 73%) was observed in the biofilm. This system of examination provides information useful for preselecting microcarriers for biomass colonization.


Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2175/106143098X121824

Publication date: March 1, 1999

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  • Water Environment Research® (WER®) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

    Published as: Sewage Works Journal, 1928 - 1949; Sewage and Industrial Wastes, 1950 - 1959; Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 1959 - Oct 1989; Research Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, Nov 1989 - 1991; Water Environment Research, 1992 - present.
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