Monovalent cations and their influence on activated sludge floc chemistry, structure, and physical characteristics

Kara F., Gurakan G. C., Sanin F. D.

Biotechnology and Bioengineering, vol.100, no.2, pp.231-239, 2008 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 100 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2008
  • Doi Number: 10.1002/bit.21755
  • Journal Name: Biotechnology and Bioengineering
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.231-239
  • Keywords: activated sludge, capillary suction time, EPS, floc strength, hydrophobicity, potassium, sodium, DEWATERING PROPERTIES, FORMING BACTERIA, NITROGEN RATIO, FLOCCULATION, BIOFLOCCULATION, MECHANISMS, STABILITY, CARBON
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Multivalent cations have been known to be important components of activated sludge floc structure due to their bridging ability of the negatively charged sites on the biopolymer network. Recently in batch systems it was found that excess concentration of monovalent cations led to the deterioration in settleability, dewaterability of sludges and effluent quality of the system. In this study, effect of influent monovalent cations (potassium and sodium) on activated sludge floc structure was investigated in semi-continuous reactors. Results revealed that the increase in concentration of both ions correlated to the general increase in total EPS concentration. The zeta potential values were affected by the cation type and dose in such a way that sludge from sodium reactors had always higher zeta potential values (higher negative charge) than the sludges from potassium reactors. Flocs from sodium reactors were more fragile and weak and the capillary suction time values of these sludges were higher compared to those from potassium reactors. The findings of this research conclude that the floc structure is significantly weakened with the increase of monovalent cations. Even though EPS is produced, it is unable to bind the floc components together. With this, the physical properties of sludge deteriorate for both cations.