The biological elimination of polymeric resins compounds (PRC) such as acrylic acid and their esters, vinyl acetate and styrene under methanogenic and oxygen-limited methanogenesis conditions was evaluated. Two UASB reactors (A and B) were used and the removal of the organic matter was studied in four stages. Reactor A was used as methanogenic control during the study. Initially both reactors were operated under methanogenic conditions. From the second stage reactor B was fed with 0.6 and 1 mg/L·d of oxygen (O2). Reactor A had diminution in chemical oxygen demand (COD) removal efficiency from 75±4% to 37±5%, by the increase of PRC loading rate from 750 to 1125 mg COD/L·d. In this reactor there was no styrene elimination. In reactor B the COD removal efficiency was between 73±5% and 80±2%, even with the addition of O2 and increase of the PRC loading rate, owing to oxygen being used in the partial oxidation of these compounds. In this reactor the yields were modified from 0.56 to 0.40 for CH4 and from 0.31 to 0.60 for CO2. The O2 in low concentrations increased 40.7% the consumption rates of acrylic acid, methyl acrylate and vinyl acetate, allowing styrene consumption with a rate of 0.103 g/L·d. Batch cultures demonstrated that under methanogenic and oxygen-limited methanogenesis conditions, the glucose was not used as an electron acceptor in the elimination of PRC.

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