Fermentation liquid of food waste (FLFW) was applied as an external carbon source in a pilot-scale anoxic/oxic-membrane bioreactor (A/O-MBR) system to enhance nitrogen removal for treating low COD/TN ratio domestic wastewater. Results showed that, with the FLFW addition, total nitrogen removal increased from lower than 20% to 44–67% during the 150 days of operation. The bacterial metabolic activities were obviously enhanced, and the significant change in microbial community structure promoted pollutants removal and favored membrane fouling mitigation. By monitoring transmembrane pressure and characterizing typical membrane foulants, such as extracellular polymeric substances (EPS), dissolved organic matter (DOM), and inorganics and biopolymers in the cake layer, it was confirmed that FLFW addition did not bring about any additional accumulation of membrane foulants, acceleration of fouling rate, or obvious irreversible membrane fouling in the whole operation period. Therefore, FLFW is a promising alternative carbon source to enhance nitrogen removal for the A/O-MBR system.
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