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Comparative Mesophilic and Thermophilic Anaerobic Digestion of Palm Oil Mill Effluent Using Upflow Anaerobic Sludge Blanket

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The effects of organic loading rate and operating temperature on the microbial diversity and performances of upflow anaerobic sludge blanket (UASB) reactors treating palm oil mill effluent (POME) were investigated. The following two UASB reactors were run in parallel for comparison: (1) under a mesophilic condition (37 °C) and (2) under a mesophilic condition in transition to a thermophilic condition (57 °C). A polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) analysis showed that the microbial population profiles significantly changed with the organic loading rate (OLR) and the temperature transition from the mesophilic to the thermophilic condition. Significant biomass washout was observed for the mesophilic UASB when operating at a high organic loading rate (OLR) of 9.5 g chemical oxygen demand (COD)/L·d. In contrast, the thermophilic UASB can be operated at this OLR and at a temperature of 57 °C with satisfactory COD removal and biogas production. The PCR-based DGGE analysis suggested that the thermophilic temperature of 57 °C was suitable for a number of hydrolytic, acidogenic, and acetogenic bacteria.
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Keywords: anaerobic; granulation; mesophilic; palm oil mill effluent; thermophilic; upflow anaerobic sludge blanket

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2012-07-01

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    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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