A new method to study interactions between biomass and packing material in anaerobic filters

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A new anaerobic, random-packed, fixed-bed reactor, where the fixed bed matrix is distributed between up to 36 independent mini-bioreactors, has been developed to investigate biomass-support interactions in anaerobic filters. Glass, Plexiglas and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) of three sizes all gave similar results though entrapped biomass was maximal at 3 g/L of matrix void volume for the smallest size and a maximum of 1 g adhered biomass per m2 was obtained for the largest size. In a second run, by periodically removing 3 mini-bioreactors, potential specific methanogenic activities against individual substrates were determined along the time and a continuous growth of the adhered biomass was observed, achieving a maximum of 40% of the total biomass.

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