The long start-up period of fluidized bed biofilm reactors is a serious obstacle for their wide installation in the anaerobic treatment of industrial wastewater. This paper presents the results of an anaerobic inverse turbulent bioreactor treating distillery wastewater during 117 days of operation at a laboratory scale. The pre-colonized bioparticles for this work were obtained from a similar reactor processing the same wastewater and which had a start-up period of 3 months. The system attained carbon removal efficiency rates between 70 and 92%, at an organic loading rate of 30.6 kg m+3 d+1 (chemical oxygen demand) with a hydraulic retention time of 11.1 h. The results obtained showed that the start-up period of this kind of reactors can be reduced by 3 using pre-colonized bioparticles.

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