This paper presents the results obtained when modifying sludge retention time (SRT 8, 5, and 3.7 days during phases A, B and C respectively) for a hybrid biological reactor (HR) compared with a classical activated sludge process. The study was conducted by following active biomass evolution and distribution for two lab-scale pilots plants operating with the same conditions, one acting as HR and the other as the control reactor (CR) without support material. At the end of phase C, support material was split into two fractions between both reactors to study the effect of support to reactor volume ratio (Fr). Active biomasses in suspended and fixed systems were calculated using respirometric techniques. Evolutions of active autotrophic and heterotrophic biomasses for both reactors are presented during all the operational periods and it is observed that in the HR biomass concentrations are up to double that in the CR, mainly due to the presence of support material. When studying biomass distribution in HR, autotrophic biomass is mainly located over the support material (from 95% to 99% during periods A and C respectively) while only about 60% of heterotrophic biomass is located over the support.

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