The effects of shear force on the formation, structure and metabolism of aerobic granules
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The effect of shear force on aerobic granulation was studied in four column-type, sequential aerobic sludge blanket reactors. Hydrodynamic turbulence caused by upflow aeration served as the main shear force in the systems. Results showed that aerobic granulation was closely associated with the strength of shear force. Compact and regular aerobic granules were formed in the reactors with a superficial upflow air velocity higher than 1.2 cm s–1. However, only typical bioflocs were observed in the reactor with a superficial upflow air velocity of 0.3 cm s–1 during the whole experimental period. The characteristics of the aerobic granules in terms of settling ability, specific gravity, hydrophobicity, polysaccharide and protein content and specific oxygen utilization rate (SOUR) were examined. It was found that the shear force has a positive effect on the production of polysaccharide, SOUR, hydrophobicity of cell surface and specific gravity of granules. The hydrophobicity of granular sludge is much higher than that of bioflocs. Therefore, it appears that hydrophobicity could induce and further strengthen cell–cell interaction and might be the main force for the initiation of granulation. The shear-stimulated production of polysaccharides favors the formation of a stable granular structure. This research provides experimental evidence to show that shear force plays a crucial role in aerobic granulation and further influences the structure and metabolism of granules.
KeywordsSludge Polysaccharide Protein Content Specific Gravity Aeration
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