Different types of sludge granules in UASB reactors treating acidified wastewaters

Jullapong Thaveesri, Daniele Daffonchio, Bart Liessens, Willy Verstraete*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The influence of a high energy substrate, i.e. sucrose, on the granular sludge yield and the development of different types of granular sludge was investigated by using Upflow Anaerobic Sludge Bed (UASB) reactors fed with synthetic wastewater. The feed COD was a mixture of volatile fatty acids (VFA) i.e., 20, 40, and 40% of the COD as C2-, C3-, and C4-VFA, respectively. Furthermore, experiments were carried out in which 10 and 30% of the VFA COD was substituted with sucrose. The following distinctly different types of granules were observed in each testrun: in the reactor fed with solely VFA, black (B) and white (W) granules developed; in the reactor fed with a mixture of 90% VFA and 10% sucrose, three types of granules i.e., B, W, and grey (G) granules could be seen; in the reactor fed with 70% VFA and 30% sucrose, only W and G granules were found. The granular sludge yield increased proportional to the amount of sucrose COD. At steady-state performance of the reactors, specific acidogenic (SAA) and methanogenic (SMA) activity tests on these granules revealed that B granules had the highest SMA with low SAA. The W granules had very high SMA with low SAA. G granules gave the highest SAA with a considerable SMA. Measurement of coenzyme F420 revealed that B granules consist mainly of acetoclastic methanogens. The fore-mentioned tests were supplemented with analyses of the wash-out cells present in the reactor effluent and the results suggested that acidogens, if present, prevail at the granule surface. The B granules were particularly rich in Ca, Mn, and Zn minerals. The size distribution analysis showed that the granule diameter increased in the following order: B<W<G granules. The biogas bubbles tended to adhere to the B and W granules but not so strongly to the G granules.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)329-337
Number of pages9
JournalAntonie van Leeuwenhoek
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • F coenzyme
  • UASB reactors
  • acidogenic and methanogenic activities
  • elemental compositions
  • flotation
  • granular sludge

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology


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