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Mesophilic Anaerobic Digestion with High-Temperature Microwave Pretreatment and Importance of Inoculum Acclimation

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Thickened waste activated sludge (TWAS) was pretreated with microwave irradiation to temperatures higher than the boiling point (between 110 and 175°C) using different microwave intensities. Biochemical methane potential (BMP) assays demonstrated that, although mesophilic anaerobic digestion (MAD) inoculum used was acclimated for 4 months with microwave pretreated TWAS (to 175°C), acute methanogenic inhibition was observed. Additionally, the microwave conditions applied increased the soluble chemical oxygen demand (sCOD)-to-total COD (tCOD) ratio; however, no significant enhancement in the rate or extent of TWAS stabilization was observed for the microwave-pretreated samples. Microwave pretreatment to between 110 and 175°C at lower microwave intensity with a better acclimated MAD inoculum (acclimatized for an additional 3 months) resulted in minimal methanogenic inhibition (improved acclimation) and improved the rate and extent of TWAS biodegradation, as determined by volatile solids removal and biogas production (microwave applied at lower microwave intensity). The TWAS pretreated to 175°C produced 31 ± 6% more biogas than the control (raw TWAS) by the 18th day of the BMP test, whereas the highest improvement observed from the first set of BMP experiments was 13 ± 1%.

Keywords: acclimation; biodegradability; high temperature; microwave; waste activated sludge

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2175/106143010X12780288628651

Publication date: June 1, 2011

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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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