High-loaded membrane bioreactors (HL-MBRs), i.e. MBRs which are operated at extremely short sludge and hydraulic retention times, can be applied to flocculate and concentrate sewage organic matter. The concentrated organics can be used for energy recovery, or for the production of more valuable organic chemicals. Little is known about the effect of the dissolved oxygen concentration (DO) on this bioflocculation process. To examine this effect, two HL-MBRs were operated, respectively at a low (1 mg L−1) and a higher (4 mg L−1) DO. The higher DO resulted in a better flocculation efficiency, i.e. 92% of the colloidal COD in the sewage flocculated compared to 69% at the lower DO. The difference was attributed to a higher microbial production of extracellular polymeric substances at a DO of 4 mg L−1 and to more multivalent cations (calcium, iron and aluminium) being distributed to the floc matrix. In addition, the HL-MBR that was operated at a DO of 4 mg L−1 gave a bigger mean floc size, a lower supernatant turbidity, better settleability and better membrane filterability than the HL-MBR that was operated at a DO of 1 mg L−1.
Faust, L., Temmink, H., Zwijnenburg, A., Kemperman, A. J. B., & Rijnaarts, H. H. M. (2014). Effect of dissolved oxygen concentration on the bioflocculation process in high loaded MBRs. Water research, 66, 199-207. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.watres.2014.08.022