Document Type : Full article


1 Department of Petroleum and Chemical Engineering, Islamic Azad University, Science and Research Branch, Tehran, Iran

2 Chemical, Petroleum and Gas Engineering Department, Semnan University, Semnan, Iran.

3 Petrochemical Research and Technology Company (NPC-RT), National Petrochemical Company, Tehran, Iran

4 Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, Sharif University of Technology, Tehran, Iran


The membrane bioreactor (MBR) is a  treatment bioreactor of urban and industrial wastewaters. The advantages of the MBR technology encompass high-quality effluents, less space requirements, and high-speed startups. This study aims to investigate the fouling phenomenon in the flour industry sewage treatment. The pilot has been designed and constructed in line with the research concerning the industrial wastewater treatment. After the adaptation of microorganisms, physical and chemical tests such as chemical oxygen demands (COD), turbidity and total suspended solids (TSS), extracellular polymeric substances (EPS), and soluble microbial products (SMP) were conducted during the process. The concentration of mixed liquor suspended solids (MLSS) in the membrane bioreactor ranged between 5000 and 8500 mg/L. Hydraulic retention times (HRTs) were fixed at 4, 8, and 16 h. Three types of resistance were considered via measuring the leakage current and transmembrane pressure (TMP). Accordingly, the total resistance rates for HRTs of 4, 8, and 16h were 22.5×1010, 21.3×1010, and 20.4×1010 m-1 respectively. Considering the average organic loading rate (OLR) in three HRTs of 4, 8, and 16 h (8.84, 5.13, and 2.84 kg the COD/m3×day respectively), the daily feed was provided to the bioreactor, and the removal efficiency of COD was assessed. An average removal of 95 % was achieved in the whole process. In this method, the input turbidity of the effluent has been increased to 187 NTU and, then, reduced to less than 3 NTU. It was also observed that EPS, SMP, and the extracted carbohydrates played more vital roles in the membrane biofouling than the extracted proteins.


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