This study presents an evaluation of the hydrolytic activity of a continuous thermophilic anaerobic reactor in long-term operation. The hydrolytic coefficient was estimated by fitting a three-reaction model of the anaerobic digestion process with experimental data obtained from a pilot thermophilic digester operated for about 2 years. The model fitting and the cross-validation indicate that this model can represent the behavior of the system in a proper way; moreover, the results show a variation of the hydrolytic capacity of the system throughout the evaluation period. The increase in the hydrolytic coefficient is in agreement with the increase in the organic load applied to the reactor, which shows the capacity of the continuous reactor to select populations according to the input conditions of the system.

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