• A biochemical predictor of performance during mesophilic anaerobic fermentation of starch wastewater

      Goodin, John D.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 1985-07-09)
      The aim of this study was to determine the potential of biochemical parameters, such as enzyme activity and adenosine triphosphate (ATP) levels, as monitors of process performance in the Upflow Anaerobic Sludge Blanket (UASB) reactor utilizing a starch wastewater. The acid and alkaline phosphatase activity and the ATP content of the UASB sludge were measured in response to changes in flow rate and nutrient loading. Conventional parameters of process performance, such as gas production, acetic acid production, COD, phosphorus, nitrogen and suspended solids loadings and % COD removal were also monitored. The response of both biochemical and conventional parameters to changing process conditions was then compared. Alkaline phosphatase activity exhibited the highest activity over the entire study perioda A high suspended solids loading was observed to upset the system in terms of gas production, acetic acid production and % COD removala The initial rate of increase in alkaline phosphatase activity following an increase in loading was four times as great during process upset than under conditions of good performance. The change in enzyme actiVity was also more sensitive to process upset than changes in acetic acid production. The change in ATP content of the sludge with time suggested that enzyme actiVity was changing independently of the actual viable biomass present. The bacterial composition of the anaerobic sludge granules was similar to that of other sludge bed systems, at the light and scanning electron microscope level. Isolated serum bottle cultures produced several acids involved in anaerobic carbohydrate metabolism. The overall performance of the UASB system indicated that higher loadings of soluble nutrients could have been tolerated by the system.