This study evaluated biological treatment of TMAH in a full-scale methanogenic up-flow anaerobic sludge blanket (UASB) followed by an aerobic bioreactor. In general, the UASB was able to perform a satisfactory TMAH degradation efficiency, but the effluent COD of the aerobic bioreactor seemed to increase with an increased TMAH in the influent wastewater. The batch test results confirmed that the UASB sludge under methanogenic conditions would be favored over the aerobic ones for TMAH treatment due to its superb ability of handling high strength of TMAH-containing wastewaters. Based on batch experiments, inhibitory chemicals present in TFT-LCD wastewater like surfactants and sulfate should be avoided to secure a stable methanogenic TMAH degradation. Finally, molecular monitoring of Methanomethylovorans hollandica and Methanosarcina mazei in the full-scale plant, the dominant methanogens in the UASB responsible for TMAH degradation, may be beneficial for a stable TMAH treatment performance.
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