Bioresource technology

High organic loading treatment for industrial molasses wastewater and microbial community shifts corresponding to system development.

PMID 26241842


Molasses wastewater contains high levels of organic compounds, cations, and anions, causing operational problems for anaerobic biological treatment. To establish a high organic loading treatment system for industrial molasses wastewater, this study designed a combined system comprising an acidification tank, a thermophilic multi-stage (MS)-upflow anaerobic sludge blanket (UASB) reactor, mesophilic UASB reactor, and down-flow hanging sponge reactor. The average total chemical oxygen demand (COD) and biochemical oxygen demand removal rates were 85%±3% and 95%±2%, respectively, at an organic loading rate of 42kgCODcrm(-3)d(-1) in the MS-UASB reactor. By installation of the acidification tank, the MS-UASB reactor achieved low H2-partial pressure. The abundance of syntrophs such as fatty acid-degrading bacteria increased in the MS-UASB and 2nd-UASB reactors. Thus, the acidification tank contributed to maintaining a favorable environment for syntrophic associations. This study provides new information regarding microbial community composition in a molasses wastewater treatment system.