A large portion of organic matter in primary effluent is polymers such as proteins and polysaccharides, and heterotrophic bacteria can directly take up only monomers such as amino acids and glucose that are produced from polymers by hydrolysis. Therefore it is assumed that the hydrolysis of polymers to monomers is the rate-determining step in activated sludge process. Activated sludges were acclimated to dextrin or peptone, and polymers (dextrin or peptone) and monomers (glucose or a mixture of free amino acids) were used as substrates for kinetics tests. Monomers were removed linearly, and the removal of polymers followed pseudo first order kinetics on the other hand. The removal rate of monomers was higher than that of polymers. The only one difference between polymer and monomer is whether glycosidic or peptide bond exists in molecule or not. It was, therefore, verified that the hydrolysis of polymer to monomer was the rate-determining step in activated sludge process. The removal of polymers followed apparently first order kinetics at higher F/M ratios, but followed nth (n>l) order kinetics at lower F/M ratios.

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