Anaerobic degradation of butyrate in a UASB reactor

H. H.P. Fang, Ho Kwong Chui, Yu You Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Wastewater with concentrated butyrate was treated in a 2·8 l UASB (Upflow Anaerobic Sludge Blanket) reactor at 37°C and pH 7·1-7·7. The process consistently removed 97-99% of COD for loading rates up to 31 g COD/l/day. Of all the COD removed, 94·5% was converted to methane; the average sludge yield was 0·037 g VSS/g COD. Conversion of acetate to methane appeared to be the rate-limiting step. Sludge granules had a maximum specific methane production rate of 1·57 g methane COD/g VSS/day, but were unable to degrade propionate. The granules were 1-2 mm in size and had a densely-packed skin layer which comprised two types of microcolony: one was composed of cocci with abundant extracellular polymer and the other was composed of two bacterial species in juxtapositioned syntrophic association. The interior was mainly composed of Methanothrix-like bacteria, a large number of which were entwined into rope-shaped aggregates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-81
Number of pages7
JournalBioresource Technology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • Butyrate
  • Methanothrix
  • degradation
  • granule
  • methanogenic activity
  • syntrophic association

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Waste Management and Disposal


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