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Microwave Effects on Soluble Substrate and Thermophilic Digestibility of Activated Sludge

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Thickened waste-activated sludge (TWAS) was subjected to microwave pretreatment and athermal irradiation. The soluble phase of each type of TWAS pretreatment was subject to ultrafiltration in series using progressively smaller pore-size membranes (300, 100, 10, and 1 kDa) and biodegradability tests. Microwave pretreatment solubilizes a considerable amount of the suspended organic substrate, but athermal irradiation also causes solubilization of organic matter, although at a smaller scale than microwave. Proteins are particularly sensitive to athermal irradiation, and both microwave and athermal irradiation are capable of changing the size distribution of dissolved organic matter. Athermal irradiation and microwave have a substantially different effect on thermophilic anaerobic biodegradability of the various size fractions obtained after ultrafiltration. Slight inhibition and decrease in total biogas production was measured in some microwave tests. Athermal irradiation does not cause a decrease in maximum biogas production rate in any test and increases slightly biogas production.
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Keywords: anaerobic digestion; athermal; digestibility; fractionation; microwave; sludge pretreatment; solubilization

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Ottawa, Department of Civil Engineering, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Publication date: 2014-03-01

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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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