Long-term experiments herein were conducted to investigate the effect of cefalexin (CLX) on methane production during waste activated sludge (WAS) anaerobic digestion. CLX exhibited a considerable inhibition in methane production during the initial 25. days while the negative effect attenuated subsequently and methane production recovered depending on CLX doses used (600 and 1000. mg/L). The highest methane yield reached 450. mL at 1000. mg-CLX/L after 157. days of digestion, 63.8% higher than CLX-free one. Stimulated excretion of extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) by CLX served as microbial protecting layers, creating a suitable environment for microbes' growth and fermentation. Further examination via ultraviolet visible (UV-Vis) spectra also verified the elevated slime EPS, LB-EPS and TB-EPS indicated by UV-254 in the presence of CLX. Unlike the commonly accepted adverse effect, this study demonstrated the beneficial role of CLX in methane production, providing new insights into its true environmental impacts.
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