The possibility of coupling a physicochemical pretreatment (ozonation) with a biological treatment (anaerobic digestion) was investigated for the case of olive mill wastewaters (OMW). Batch ozonation experiments were performed in a glass bubble reactor. The parameters which were tested included the ozone concentration in the inlet gas stream, the reactor temperature and the composition of the liquid medium in terms of raw or fractionated OMW used. In the sequel, ozone-pretreated OMW samples were tested for their biochemical methane potential (BMP) under mesophilic conditions and these results were compared to the BMP of untreated OMW. The ozonation process alone resulted in a 57–76% decrease of total phenols and a 5–18% decrease of total carbohydrates contained in OMW, depending on the experimental conditions. Nevertheless, the ozone-pretreated OMW exhibited lower chemical oxygen demand removal and methane production during BMP testing compared to the untreated OMW.

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