Self-immobilized biofilms, or aerobic granules without the addition of carrier material, have only been reported in one suspended growth system, the Sequencing Batch Reactor (SBR) with a very short fill time (dump fill). The SBR utilizes intermittent feeding which creates a period of high load followed by starvation (often referred to as feast-famine). In this experiment, three identical SBRs were operated with different feeding conditions to determine the role of feast-famine on granule formation. All three SBRs were operated with a total volumetric load of 2.4 kg/m3·d. The 90 minute Fill phase was altered for each reactor, providing an increasing time of Aerated Fill. A dump fill condition was applied for one reactor, while the other two reactors were aerated for different times during Fill, resulting in a smaller COD load at the beginning of each React phase. Aerobic granules formed in all reactors, but the structural properties and content of filamentous organisms were clearly dependent on a high feast condition. Only the reactor with dump fill formed compact, stable granules. It is concluded that intermittent feeding associated with the SBR affects the selection and growth of filamentous organisms and has a critical role in granule structure and composition.

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