Azo dye reduction at 55degreesC by thermophilic anaerobic granular sludge was investigated distinguishing between the biotic and abiotic mechanisms. The impact of the redox mediator anthraquinone-2,6-disulfonate (AQDS) on colour removal and co-substrate oxidation was also investigated. Metabolic activities of the thermophilic inoculum induced a fast azo dye reduction and indicated a biotic predominance in the process. The addition of co-substrate enhanced the decolourisation rates 1.7-fold compared with the bottles free of co-substrate. Addition of AQDS together with co-substrate enhanced the k value 1.5-fold, compared with the incubation containing co-substrate in the absence of AQDS. During a comparative study between sludge samples incubated under mesophilic (30degreesC) and thermophilic (55degreesC) conditions, the decolourisation rate at 55degreesC reached values up to sixfold higher than at 30degreesC. Biological treatment at 55degreesC showed a fast initial generation of reducing compounds via co-substrate oxidation, with AQDS increasing the azo dye reduction rate in all the incubations tested. Nevertheless, high concentrations of AQDS showed severe inhibition of thermophilic acetate and propionate oxidation and methane production rates. These promising results indicate that there may be good prospects for thermophilic anaerobic treatment of other reductive transformations such as reduction of nitroaromatics and dehalogenation.
- sp strain bn6
- methanogenic sludge