To improve the excess sludge disintegration efficiency, reduce the sludge disintegration cost, and increase sludge biodegradability, a combined pretreatment of anaerobic hydrolysis (AH) and ultrasonic treatment (UT) was proposed for excess sludge. Results showed that AH had an advantage in dissolving flocs, modifying sludge characteristics, and reducing the difficulty of sludge disintegration, whereas UT was advantageous in damaging cell walls, releasing intracellular substances, and decomposing macromolecular material. The combined AH–UT process was an efficient method for excess sludge pretreatment. The optimized solution involved AH for 3 days, followed by UT for 10 min. After treatment, chemical oxygen demand, protein, and peptidoglycan concentrations reached 3,949.5 mg O2/L, 752.5 mg/L and 619.1 mg/L, respectively. This work has great significance for further engineering applications, namely, reducing energy consumption, increasing the sludge disintegration rate, and improving the biochemical properties of sludge.

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