Sludge cell disruption was generally considered as the rate-limiting step for the anaerobic digestion of waste activated sludge (WAS). Advanced oxidation processes and bio-electro-chemical systems were recently reported to enhance the hydrolysis of WAS and sludge cell disruption, while the cell-breaking processes of these systems remain unclear yet. In this study, an innovative Bio-electro-Fenton system was developed to pretreat the WAS sequentially with cathode Fenton process and anode anaerobic digestion. Significant cell disruption and dissolution intracellular organics were founded after the treatment. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) analysis and fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR) spectra indicated that Gram-negative bacteria were more sensitive to free radicals yielded in cathode to induce a chain reaction that destroyed the lipid-contained outer membrane, while Gram-positive bacteria with thick peptidoglycan layer were liable to be biologically decomposed in the anode. Compared with the oxidation of organic matters in the cathode Fenton, the secretion of enzyme increased in the anode which was beneficial to break down the complex matters (peptidoglycans) into simples that were available for anode oxidation by exoelectrogens. The results also showed a possible prospect for the application of this sequential pretreatment in bio-electro-Fenton systems to disrupt sludge cells and enhance the anaerobic digestion.
Water Research – Elsevier
Published: May 15, 2018
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