Acid resistance of methanogenic bacteria in a two-stage anaerobic process treating high concentration methanol wastewater
In this study, the two-stage upflow anaerobic sludge blanket (UASB) system and batch experiments were employed to evaluate the performance of anaerobic digestion for the treatment of high concentration methanol wastewater. The acid resistance of granular sludge and methanogenic bacteria and their metabolizing activity were investigated. The results show that the pH of the first UASB changed from 4.9 to 5.8 and 5.5 to 6.2 for the second reactor. Apparently, these were not the advisable pH levels that common methanogenic bacteria could accept. The methanogenic bacteria of the system, viz. Methanosarcina barkeri, had some acid resistance and could still degrade methanol at pH 5.0. If the methanogenic bacteria were trained further, their acid resistance would be improved somewhat. Granular sludge of the system could protect the methanogenic bacteria within its body against the impact of the acidic environment and make them degrade methanol at pH 4.5. The performance of granular sludge was attributed to its structure, bacteria species, and the distribution of bacterium inside the granule.