Anaerobic membrane bioreactors (AnMBRs) have many advantages, such as producing methane gas for energy generation and little excess sludge. However, membrane fouling is a serious problem because the foulant, which causes the membrane to foul, may get rejected by the membrane and accumulate in the reactor, resulting in an acceleration of membrane fouling. However, there is no information related to a change in the foulant concentration in an AnMBR. Therefore, we examined the changes in the foulant concentration in the reactor, related to membrane fouling in an AnMBR. For the influent, reactor solution, and effluent, the concentration of each component of the foulant was analyzed by using a liquid chromatography-organic carbon detector (LC-OCD). It was found that fouling in the AnMBR was closely related to the components in the reactor, and the main foulant of the ultrafiltration (UF) membrane was biopolymers (BPs). BP accumulated in the reactor because of a high rejection by the UF membrane. However, once the BP accumulated in the reactor was biodegraded, the concentration of BP decreased with time even under a high organic loading rate of 1.9kg TOC/m3/day.

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