Toilet-paper cellulose with rich but refractory carbon sources, are the main insoluble COD fractions in sewage. An anaerobic membrane bioreactor (AnMBR) was configured for sewage treatment at room temperature and its performance on methanogenic degradation of toilet paper was highlighted. The results showed, high organic removal (95%), high methane conversion (90%) and low sludge yield (0.08 gVSS/gCOD) were achieved in the AnMBR. Toilet-paper cellulose was fully biodegraded without accumulation in the mixed liquor and membrane cake layer. Bioconversion efficiency of toilet paper approached 100% under a high organic loading rate (OLR) of 2.02 gCOD/L/d and it could provide around 26% of total methane generation at most of OLRs. Long sludge retention time and co-digestion of insoluble/soluble COD fractions achieving mutualism of functional microorganisms, contributed to biodegradation of toilet-paper cellulose. Therefore the AnMBR successfully implemented simultaneously methanogenic bioconversion of toilet-paper cellulose and soluble COD in sewage at room temperature.
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