High-strength wastewater of some industries contains high concentrations of surfactants and readily biodegradable compounds like starch and other carbohydrates. Wastewater of this type is found in the textile wet-processing industry (e.g., cotton desizing). The anaerobic degradation process in such wastewater is inhibited due to the high surfactant content. Alcohol sulfate (AS) of increasing hydrophobic chain length (C 8 to C 18 , surfactant) and soluble starch (size) were used as model compounds in a series of batch experiments with high loadings of the biomass (65 g AS/kg cell dry weight; 910 g starch/kg cell dry weight). The strongest inhibition of the hydrolysis, acidogenesis and acetogenesis was found in reactors containing medium chain ASs like dodecyl sulfate. Starch hydrolyzation rates decreased by nearly 90% in the presence of dodecyl sulfate. Decyl sulfate caused the strongest inhibition of the methanogenesis and a decrease of the methane evolution by 75% within 87 days experimental time. It was found that short as well as long chain ASs caused only minor inhibition phenomena. The presented data can be used as a basis for the selection of suitable surfactants that do not (or not seriously) inhibit the anaerobic digestion of industrial effluents.
Bioresource Technology – Elsevier
Published: Apr 1, 2002
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