High-rate anaerobic treatment of alcoholic wastewaters

L. Florencio, J. A. Field, G. Lettinga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Modern high-rate anaerobic wastewater treatment processes are rapidly becoming popular for industrial wastewater treatment. However, until recently stable process conditions could not be guaranteed for alcoholic wastewaters containing higher concentrations of methanol. Although methanol can be directly converted into methane by methanogens, under specific conditions it can also be converted into acetate and butyrate by acetogens. The accumulation of volatile fatty acids can lead to reactor instability in a weakly buffered reactor. Since this process was insufficiently understood, the application of high-rate anaerobic reactors was highly questionable. This research investigated the environmental factors that are of importance in the predominance of methylotrophic methanogens over acetogens in a natural mixed culture during anaerobic wastewater treatment in upflow anaerobic sludge bed reactors. Technological and microbiological aspects were investigated. Additionally, the route by which methanol is converted into methane is also presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)409-416
Number of pages8
JournalBrazilian Journal of Chemical Engineering
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemical Engineering


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