, Volume 25, Issue 1, pp 127–136 | Cite as

Performance and granulation in an upflow anaerobic sludge blanket (UASB) reactor treating saline sulfate wastewater

  • Jin LiEmail author
  • Lian Yu
  • Deshuang Yu
  • Dan Wang
  • Peiyu Zhang
  • Zhongguang Ji
Original Paper


An upflow anaerobic sludge blanket reactor was employed to treat saline sulfate wastewater. Mesophilic operation (35 ± 0.5 °C) was performed with hydraulic retention time fixed at 16 h. When the salinity was 28 g L−1, the chemical oxygen demand and sulfate removal efficiencies were 52 and 67 %, respectively. The salinity effect on sulfate removal was less than that on organics removal. The methane productions were 887 and 329 cm3 L−1 corresponding to the NaCl concentrations of 12 and 28 g L−1, respectively. High salinity could stimulate microbes to produce more extracellular polymeric substances (EPSs) and granulation could be performed better. Besides, with the high saline surroundings, a great deal of Na+ compressed the colloidal electrical double-layer, neutralized the negative charge of the sludge particles and decreased their electrostatic repulsion. The repulsion barrier disappeared and coagulation took place. The maximum size of granules was 5 mm, which resulted from the coupled triggering forces of high EPSs and Na+ contents. Sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB) were dominant in the high saline surroundings while the methane-producing archaea dominated in the low saline surroundings. The SRB were affected least by the salinity.


Anaerobic processes Biodegradation Biodesulfurization Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) Granulation Waste-water treatment 



Upflow anaerobic sludge blanket


Chemical oxygen demand


Extracellular polymeric substances


Sulfate-reducing bacteria


Fluorescence in situ hybridization


Methane-producing archaea


Mixed liquor suspended solids


Mixed liquor volatile suspended solids


Hydraulic retention time


Oxidation-reduction potential


Fluorescein isothiocyanate



The work was supported by the National Natural Scientific Foundation (Nos. 51078191, 41206106 and 51278258). The authors would like to thank the editor and the anonymous reviewers for editing and review.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jin Li
    • 1
    Email author
  • Lian Yu
    • 2
  • Deshuang Yu
    • 1
  • Dan Wang
    • 3
  • Peiyu Zhang
    • 1
  • Zhongguang Ji
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, Qingdao UniversityQingdaoPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Environmental Aquatic ChemistryResearch Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.National Marine Environmental Forecasting Center, State Oceanic AdministrationBeijingPeople’s Republic of China

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