Removal rates of acetone and methyl isobutyl ketone (MIBK) were determined singularly and in combination in batch experiments employing an acclimatized activated sludge from a pilot system treating an organic chemical manufacturer industrial wastewater, as well as during the course of operation of the pilot system. Both acetone and MIBK removals were described by first-order removal kinetics. Acetone, as a single substrate, was biodegraded at a rate of 1.7 day(-1). MIBK was biodegraded, during the single-substrate experiments, at an observed rate of 2.23 day(-1). Relative to the control (no spike) experiments, acetone removal was augmented by a factor of 3 during the acetone spike, with an observed biomass-specific removal rate of 0.0023 L/mg VSSday. MIBK removal during an MIBK spike was also enhanced by a factor of 2, and the greatest biomass-specific removal rate of MIBK was observed during the acetone spike of 0.0019 L/mg VSSday. The observed rates were approximately 3 orders of magnitude greater than the observed rates in the pilot scale system. MIBK exerted a synergistic effect on the acetone-removal rate while acetone exerted an inhibitory impact on the MIBK-removal rate.
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