This study evaluated TMAH biodegradation under methanogenic conditions. Under methanogenic conditions, a sludge from a full-scale UASB treating TFT-LCD wastewater was able to degrade 2,000 mg/L of TMAH within 10 h and attained a specific degradation rate of 19.2 mgTMAH/gVSS-h. Furthermore, several chemicals including some surfactants, DMSO, and sulfate were examined for their potential inhibitory effects on TMAH biodegradation under methanogenic conditions. The results indicated that surfactant S1 (up to 2%) and DMSO (up to 1,000 mg/L) presented negligible inhibitory effects on TMAH degradation, while surfactant S2 (0.2–1%) might inhibit methanogenic reaction without any TMAH degradation for 3–5 h. At sulfate concentrations higher than 300 mg/L, a complete inhibition of methanogenic reaction and TMAH biodegradation was observed. Results from cloning and sequencing of archaeal 16S rRNA gene fragments showed that Methanosarcina barkeri and Methanosarcina mazei were the dominant methanogens in the UASB treating TMAH-containing TFT-LCD wastewater.

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