Thermophilic aerobic treatment of a synthetic wastewater in a membrane-coupled bioreactor

  • T M LaPara
  • A Konopka
  • C H Nakatsu
  • J E Alleman

DOI: 10.1038/sj.jim.7000110

Cite this article as:
LaPara, T., Konopka, A., Nakatsu, C. et al. J Ind Microbiol Biotech (2001) 26: 203. doi:10.1038/sj.jim.7000110

Synthetic wastewater containing -lactose and gelatin was treated in a thermophilic membrane-coupled bioreactor (MBR). Thermophilic (>45°C) treatment represents a potentially advantageous process for high-temperature as well as high-strength industrial wastewaters susceptible to reactor autoheating. Thermophilic systems, however, generally support a nonflocculating biomass that resists conventional methods of cell separation from the treated wastewater. MBRs were applied to thermophilic treatment systems because bacterial cells can be retained regardless of cell aggregation. Thermophilic aerobic MBRs were successfully operated at high levels of biocatalyst and produced a better effluent quality than analogous thermophilic bioreactors without cell recycle. At a hydraulic residence time (HRT) of 13.1 h, the chemical oxygen demand (COD) of the membrane eluate improved from 760 mg l−1 (without cell recycle) to 160 mg l−1 (with cell recycle). Bacterial community shifts were detected by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) -amplified 16S rRNA gene fragments — 6 of 13 bands disappeared within 2 days of MBR operation. A concomitant 40–50% reduction in physiological indicators of cell reactivity (RNA:protein; ATP:protein) was also observed. The specific activity of β-galactosidase and aminopeptidase, however, increased by 10–25%, indicating that there is a definite advantage to MBR operation at the highest biomass level possible. Nucleotide sequence analysis of 16S rDNA clones identified phylotypes from the low-G+C Gram-positive division and the β- and γ-subdivisions of Proteobacteria. Journal of Industrial Microbiology & Biotechnology (2001) 26, 203–209.

Keywords: bacterial physiology; biodegradation; PCR–DGGE; membrane bioreactors; thermophilic 

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© Society for Industrial Microbiology 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • T M LaPara
    • 1
  • A Konopka
    • 2
  • C H Nakatsu
    • 3
  • J E Alleman
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Civil Engineering, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USAUS
  2. 2.Department of Biological Sciences, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USAUS
  3. 3.Department of Agronomy, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USAUS

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