Anaerobic degradation of waste water in fixed bed reactors is investigated using molasses as an example of complex composed waste water. The results of differently sized rectors are shown to be transferable and can be used for the design of small waste water treatment plants. The assessment of the reactor performance is done not only by material balances but also by applying microbiological parameters. Modern microbiological methods enable the incorporation of biological parameters into reactor design and process control. The results of these measurements lead to a better understanding of the correlation between changing process parameters and the state of the microbial population. Thus new tools are available to maintain stable and save anaerobic processes.

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