The effect of upflow air velocity on the formation and structure of aerobic granules was studied in three column sequencing batch reactors. Upflow aeration would be the major cause of hydrodynamic shear force in the column reactor. Results showed that high upflow air velocity resulted in more compact, denser, rounder, stronger and smaller aerobic granules, while high biomass retention in the reactor was achieved. It was found that high upflow air velocity could induce granular sludge to secrete more cell polysaccharides which in turn contributed to the compact and strong structure. It appears from this study that the structure of aerobic granules could be controlled by manipulating the upflow air velocity.

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