ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE AND POLLUTION RESEARCH, vol.23, no.16, pp.16230-16240, 2016 (Peer-Reviewed Journal)
The study tested the performance of super fast membrane bioreactor (SFMBR) using starch as a slowly biodegradable substrate, exploring the fate of starch, and the response of the microbial community. SFMBR was operated at extremely low sludge ages of 0.5-2.0 days, with a hydraulic retention time of 1.0 h. Average values for permeate chemical oxygen demand (COD) always remained in the narrow range between 14 and 18 mg/L, regardless of the selected mode of MBR operation at different sludge ages. Soluble COD levels in the reactor were consistently higher than the corresponding permeate COD. Parameters defining process kinetics, determined by model calibration of oxygen uptake rate (OUR) profiles, varied as a function of sludge age. Model simulation of SFMBR performance indicated total removal of hydrolysis products so that permeate COD consisted of residual microbial products. PCR-DGGE experiments revealed significant shifts in the composition of the microbial community imposed by variations in the sludge age, reflecting on corresponding process kinetics.