The diffusive properties of mesophilic methanogenic granular sludge have been studied using diffusion analysis by relaxation time separated pulsed field gradient nuclear magnetic resonance (DARTS PFG NMR) spectroscopy. NMR measurements were performed at 22°C with 10 ml granular sludge at a magnetic field strength of 0.5 T (20 MHz resonance frequency for protons). Spin-spin relaxation (T2) time measurements indicate that three 1H populations can be distinguished in methanogenic granular sludge beds, corresponding to water in three different environments. The T2 relaxation time measurements clearly differentiate the extragranular water (T2 ≈ 1000 ms) from the water present in the granular matrix (T2 = 40-100 ms) and bacterial cell associated water (T2 = 10-15 ms). Self-diffusion coefficient measurements at 22°C of the different 1H-water populations as the tracer show that methanogenic granular sludge does not contain one unique diffusion coefficient. The observed distribution of self-diffusion coefficients varies between 1.1 × 10−9 m2/s (bacterial cell associated water) and 2.1 × 10−9 m2/s (matrix associated water).

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