Effect of sulfate and iron on physico-chemical characteristics of anaerobic granular sludge

E.D. van Hullebusch, J. Gieteling, W. van Daele, J. Defrancq, P.N.L. Lens

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This research investigated the effect of the substrate composition (no substrate, glucose, glucose + sulfate or glucose + sulfate + iron) on the physico-chemical characteristics of two different anaerobic granular sludges as a function of time. The sludges were fed batch wise (pH 7, 30 °C) at an organic loading rate of 1.2 g COD l¿1 d¿1 (0.04 g COD g VSS¿1 day¿1) for 30 days. The presence of sulfate (COD/sulfate ratio = 1) in the feed of glucose fed anaerobic sludges did not change the physico-chemical characteristics throughout the incubation. In contrast, the presence of iron in the feed (in addition to glucose and sulfate, COD/iron ratio = 1) reduced the protein and carbohydrate content in the SMP and EPS with about 50% after 30 days incubation compared to the other feeding conditions. The sludge grown on glucose + sulfate + iron contained much more iron (+300¿500%) and sulfur (+200¿350%) than the other incubated sludges both after 14 and 30 days. The higher mineral content (lower VSS content) and the decrease of the EPS content contributed to the disintegration of iron fed granules, as shown by their lower size particles. However, the iron fed sludge displayed a higher granule strength than the other incubated sludges. Although an appreciable variation in the granule strength was noticed between the sludges investigated, it was not possible to relate these differences to their inorganic composition, the chemical composition of the extracted polymers or to the physical characteristics investigated
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)168-177
JournalBiochemical Engineering Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • extracellular polymeric substances
  • waste-water
  • viscosity evolution
  • reducing bacteria
  • blanket reactors
  • egsb reactors
  • uasb
  • precipitation
  • sulfide
  • localization

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