Effect of anionic and nonionic surfactants on the kinetics of the aerobic heterotrophic biodegradation of organic matter in industrial wastewater

Ewa Liwarska-Bizukojc, René Scheumann, Anja Drews, Ute Bracklow, Matthias Kraume
Water Research 2008, 42 (4): 923-30
While using the contemporary mathematical models for activated sludge systems, it is necessary to describe quantitatively the kinetics of microbiological processes and to characterise substrate (wastewater components in the influent) as well as biomass (activated sludge). In this paper, the kinetic parameters of the aerobic biodegradation of organic matter in wastewater containing synthetic surfactants in an activated sludge system were determined and discussed. Also, the composition of the tested wastewater was estimated and expressed as COD fractions. Five synthetic surfactants, three anionic and two nonionic, of different chemical structure were investigated. Each of them was tested separately and dissolved in wastewater to obtain a concentration of 50 mgl(-1), which can be found in some industrial wastewater. The presence of the elevated amount of synthetic surfactants in wastewater decreased the affinity of biomass to substrate. Nevertheless, maximum specific growth rates (micromax) of heterotrophic biomass exposed to wastewater containing surfactants were high but usually lower than micromax estimated for wastewater without surfactant. Surfactants, which contain a benzene ring, were the most likely to deteriorate wastewater treatment processes in the activated sludge systems.


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