Effect of a co-substrate supply in a MBR treating shipboard slop: Analysis of hydrocarbon removal, biomass activity and membrane fouling tendency

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Abstract

The paper reports the main results of an experiment carried out on a membrane bioreactor (MBR) plant designed for the treatment of shipboard slops. With a view of a co-treatment process of the slop with other wastewaters, sodium acetate, as external co-substrate, was supplied (high dosage – Period 1, low dosage – Period 2) to evaluate its effects on hydrocarbons removal. The MBR pilot plant enabled approximately 99% of total petroleum hydrocarbon (TPH) removal during the entire experiment, confirming the robustness of the MBR technology for the treatment of slops. The chromatography/mass spectrometry analysis showed that the removal efficiency for each alkane was close to the value observed for total mixture removal (>99%) and the hydrocarbons removal was mostly due to the microorganism-mediated biodegradation. The biological contribution to TPH removal increased from approximately 85% to 98% when the co-substrate was decreased. Biomass kinetics revealed that a lower co-substrate dosage enhanced the growth of bacterial groups able to use hydrocarbons as primary substrate. A clear predominance of Microthrix Parvicella under low co-substrate dosage was observed. However, the lower co-substrate addition caused a significant worsening in the physical properties of the activated sludge, which resulted enriched in soluble exopolymers (>70%), more hydrophobic (>90%) and with small and dispersed flocs (<30 μm). Consequently, the membrane permeability reduced because of the irreversible fouling increase.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)178-188
Numero di pagine11
RivistaBiochemical Engineering Journal
Volume140
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Biomedical Engineering

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