Low wastewater temperatures affect microbial growth rates and microbial populations, as well as physical chemical characteristics of the wastewater. Wastewater treatment plant design needs to accommodate changing temperatures, and somewhat limited capacity is a key criticism of low strength anaerobic treatment such as Anaerobic Membrane Bioreactors (AnMBR). This study evaluates the applicability of an alternative platform utilizing purple phototrophic bacteria for low temperature domestic wastewater treatment. Two photo-anaerobic membrane bioreactors (PAnMBR) at ambient (22 °C) and low temperatures (10 °C) were compared to fully evaluate temperature response of critical processes. The results show good functionality at 10 °C in comparison with ambient operation. This enabled operation at 10 °C to discharge limits (TCOD < 100 mg L−1; TN < 10 mg L−1 and TP < 1 mg L−1) at a HRT < 1 d. While capacity of the system was not limited, microbial community showed a strong shift to a far narrower diversity, almost complete dominance by PPB, and of a single Rhodobacter spp. compared to a more diverse community in the ambient reactor. The outcomes of the current work enable applicability of PPB for domestic wastewater treatment to a broad range of regions.

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Last updated: 11th Apr 2017