Treating protein-rich wastewater using cost-effective and simple-structured single-stage reactors presents several challenges. In this study, we applied an anaerobic sequencing batch reactor (AnSBR) to treat protein-rich wastewater from a slaughterhouse. We focused on identifying the key factors influencing the removal of chemical oxygen demand (COD) and the settling performance of the sludge. The AnSBR achieved a maximum total COD removal of 90%, a protein degradation efficiency exceeding 80%, and a COD to methane conversion efficiency of over 70% at organic loading rates of up to 6.2 g COD L−1 d−1. We found that the variations in both the organic loading rate within the reactor and the hydraulic retention time in the buffer tank had a significant effect on COD removal. The hydraulic retention time in the buffer tank and the reactor, which determined the ammonification efficiencies and the residual carbohydrate concentrations in the reactor liquid, affected the sludge settleability. Furthermore, the genus Clostridium sensu stricto 1, known as protein- and lipids-degraders, was predominant in the reactor. Statistical analysis showed a significant correlation between the core microbiome and ammonification efficiency, highlighting the importance of protein degradation as the governing process in the treatment. Our results will provide valuable insights to optimise the design and operation of AnSBR for efficient treatment of protein-rich wastewater.
- Anaerobic digestion
- Anaerobic sequencing batch reactor (AnSBR)
- Microbial community
- Slaughterhouse wastewater