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Use of Halophilic Bacteria in Biological Treatment of Saline Wastewater by Fed-Batch Operation

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Biological treatment of saline wastewater by standard activated-sludge cultures typically results in low chemical oxygen demand (COD) removal efficiencies as a result of plasmolysis of cells caused by high salt content (> 1%). Removal of salt from wastewater before biological treatment by reverse osmosis or ion exchange would be quite costly. However, inclusion of salt-tolerant organisms in an activated-sludge culture to improve treatment efficiency is a practical approach developed and presented in this article.

Synthetic wastewater composed of diluted molasses, urea, phosphate, and different amounts of salt (0 to 5% sodium chloride) was treated in an aeration tank operated in fed-batch mode. Halobacter halobium added to activated-sludge culture was used in biological treatment, and results were compared with those obtained with the activated-sludge culture alone. Halobacter addition produced significantly greater COD removal rates and efficiencies (% removal) at salt concentrations greater than 2% salt. At low salt concentrations, performances of both cultures were comparable. Results indicated that saline wastewater containing more than 2% salt can be treated effectively by Halobacter-supplemented, activated-sludge cultures, with COD removal efficiencies greater than 85% within 9 hours of fed-batch operation.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2000-03-01

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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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