Sludge samples from an upflow anaerobic sludge blanket (UASB) reactor and four submerged aerated biofilters (BFs) of a wastewater treatment plant (1,000 inhab.) were processed at bench scale by alkaline and acid hydrolysis with the objective to evaluate the organic matter solubilization, volatile solids (VS) destruction and the effect of hydrolytic processes on the extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) fraction of the sludge samples. The results showed that alkaline hydrolysis of sludge samples treatment with 1.0% total solids (TS) using NaOH 20 meq L−1 was more efficient on organic matter solubilization and VS destruction than acid hydrolysis. The EPS sludge content was also affected by the alkaline treatment of anaerobic sludge samples. The EPS concentrations (mg EPS/gVSS) on the anaerobic sludge after the alkaline treatment were significantly lowered according to sample height in the UASB reactor. Data indicated that the EPS sludge fraction is the main component affected by the alkaline hydrolytic process of anaerobic sludge samples.

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