This study focuses on the effect of xanthan gum on aerobic sludge granulation, through close monitoring of the physical and chemical changes of the aerobic granular sludge, and treatment performance. Two sequencing batch reactors (SBRs), R1 and R2, were seeded with activated sludge only (R1) and with a mixture of activated sludge and 40 mg/L of xanthan gum (R2). The results showed that granulation finished on the 20th day in R2, far faster than the granulation time of 30 days in R1. Meanwhile, there was a reliably higher sludge concentration, better settling properties and better particle mechanical strength in R2, and better removal performance of total nitrogen (TN) and chemical oxygen demand (COD). The results demonstrated that seeding xanthan gum enhanced the aerobic sludge granulation in the SBR. Maybe its anionic and hydrophilic surface characteristics facilitate interactions with cations and other polysaccharides, inducing stronger gelation, which promoted the formation of particles or increased the internal relationship between particles, thereby increasing the cohesion within the sludge, so that the granular sludge was not easily broken.

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