This paper presents results on the quantification and chromatographic characterization of soluble microbial products (SMP) accumulated in two laboratory-scale reactors: a submerged anaerobic membrane reactor (SAMBR or MBR), and an anaerobic CSTR. The results obtained under steady-state conditions show that 2.1% of the substrate was channelled into the production of SMP in the CSTR, whilst in the SAMBR this was estimated to be 25%. Chromatographic characterization showed that more hydrophobic and high MW organics that absorb at 254 nm were detected in the SAMBR supernatant than in the CSTR. A comparison of chromatograms suggest that the release of extracellular polymers (ECP) and cell lysis may be important sources of SMP in the SAMBR. Electrophoresis results confirmed that there was more soluble protein inside the SAMBR, and showed that the release of ECP by shear or hydrolysis seemed to have contributed to the production of protein-like SMP in both systems.

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