The granulation process was examined in an 8 L laboratory upflow anaerobic sludge blanket (UASB) reactor using synthetic wastewater contained trichloroethylene (TCE). Glucose and lactate were used as primary substrates. The anaerobic bacteria biomass were acclimated and granulated by increasing the chemical oxygen demand (COD) and TCE loadings. Anaerobic sludge was acclimated successfully in 120 days in the anaerobic sludge acclimation appliance. Since start-up, the UASB was operated as a continuous-flow reactor under the following operation conditions: temperature of (35 ± 1)°C, pH ≈ 7.2, hydraulic retention time of 10 h, COD of 2.5 g L−1 and TCE loading rate from 50.5 to 252.3 mg · (L d)−1. The UASB reactor was started successfully. The sludge volume index was 13 mL g−1. The maximum specific methanogenic activity was 1.42 gCOD · (gVSS.d)−1. After 90 days, 85% of COD and 85% of TCE removal efficiencies were achieved. The TCE degrading granular sludge had an average diameter of 2.7 mm and total suspended solid of 52 g L−1. Anaerobic sludge adsorption of TCE reached adsorption equilibrium in 0.5 h, and in 1 h reached desorption equilibrium. Furthermore, cis-dichloroethylene and vinyl chloride were detected, which showed that the removal of TCE was caused by both adsorption and biodegradation but mainly by biodegradation.

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