This paper presents the features and the most important empirical design parameters of anaerobic filters (AF) and up-flow anaerobic sludge blanket (UASB) reactors which are the main anaerobic process units used for the treatment of low-strength food-processing wastewaters in Brazil. The technology associated with this type of reactors can be considered well established, since they are reliable operating at temperatures ranging from 15 to 30°C and at volumetric organic loading rates (OLR) lower than 5.0 kg COD.m−3.d−1. Recently, a new configuration of anaerobic reactor - the horizontal-flow anaerobic immobilized sludge (HAIS) reactor, has been proposed for the treatment of low-strength wastewaters. The sequence of fundamental and applied researches aiming to establish rational design parameters for the HAIS reactor scale-up is presented here.

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