Aerobic granular sludge was successfully cultivated in a lab-scale SBR-system treating malting wastewater with a high content of particulate organic matter (0.9 gTSS/L). At an organic loading rate (CODtotal) of 3.4 kg/(m3·d) an average removal efficiency of 50% in CODtotal and 80% in CODdissolved was achieved. Fractionation of the COD by means of particle size showed that particles with a diameter less than 25–50 μm could be removed at 80% efficiency, whereas particles bigger than 50 μm were only removed at 40% efficiency. Tracer experiments revealed a dense sessile protozoa population covering the granules. The protozoa appeared to be responsible for primary particle uptake from the wastewater.

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