Investigation of batch anaerobic digestion and membrane filtration efficiency for the treatment of unhairing wastewater

N. Mlaik, L. Martin-González, S. Woodward, J. Bouzid, T. Mechichi, M. Sarra


The objective of this study was to evaluate the efficiencies of the anaerobic batch digestion test and the membrane filtration process in treating unhairing wastewater from tanneries.

During the anaerobic test, the higher initial organic load decreased the biogas yield. With an initial organic matter load of 5 g COD/L, the biogas yield was of 367 mL/g COD introduced, compared to the 250 mL/g COD introduced when the initial organic matter load was 2.7 g COD/ L. Microfiltration (MF) of unhairing wastewater using a 0.2 µm pore-size membrane resulted in high removal efficiencies, 100% for bacteria and 98.5 and 99% for turbidity in the 1st and 2nd MF series, respectively. These results confirmed the importance of MF for the removal of suspended solids (SS) from unhairing wastewater.

A microtoxicity assay showed only the anaerobic batch digestion test carried out under low initial COD was able to adequately reduce the toxicity of unhairing effluents. 

Full Text:



Durai, G.; Rajasimman, M. Biological treatment of tannery wastewater : A review. Journal of environmental Science and Technology 4, (2011) 1-17.

Mannucci, A.; Munz, G.; Mori, G.; Lubello, C. Anaerobic treatment of vegetable tannery wastewaters: A review. Desalination 264, (2010) 1-8.

Song, Z.; Williams, C. J.; Edyvean, R.G.J. Coagulation and anaerobic digestion of tannery wastewater, Process Safety and Environmental Protection 79, (2001) 23-28.

El-Sheikh, M.A.; Saleh, H.I.; Flora, J.R.; Abd El-Ghany M.R. Biological tannery wastewater treatment using two stage UASB reactors. Desalination 276, (2011) 253-259.

Durai, G.; Rajamohan, N.; Karthikeyan, C.; Rajasimman, M. Kinetics Studies on Biological treatment of tannery wastewater using mixed culture. International Journal of Chemical Biology and Engieering 2, (2010) 105-109.

Ahn, D.H.; Chung, Y.C.; Yoo, Y.J.; Pak, D.W.; Chang, W.S. Improved treatment of tannery wastewater using zoogloea ranigera and its extracellular polymer in an activated sludge process. Biotechnology Letters. 18, (1996) 917-922.

Farabegoli, G.; Carucci, A.; Majone, M.; Rolle, E. Biological treatment of tannery wastewater in the presence of chromium. Journal of Environmental Management 71, (2004) 345-349.

Lofrano, G.; Meriç, S.; Belgirno, V.; Napoli, R.M.A. Fentons oxidation of various - based tanning materials. Desalination 211, (2007) 10-21.

Dogruel, S.; Ates, G.E.; Germirli, B.F.; Orhon, D. Ozonation of non biodegradable organics in tannery wastewater. Journal of Environmental Science and Health. 39, (2004) 1705-1715.

Song, Z.; Williams, C.J.; Edyvean, R.G.J. Treatment of tannery wastewater by chemical coagulation. Desalination 164, (2004) 249-259.

Houshyar, Z.; Khoshfetrat, A.B.; Fatehifar, E. Influence of ozonation process on characteristics of pre-alkalized tannery effluents. Chemical. Engineering Journal 191, (2012) 59-65.

Van Staikenburg, W. Anaerobic treatment of wastewater: state of the art. Microbiology 66, (1997) 589-596.

Chen, Y.; Cheng, J.J.; Creamer, K.S. Inhibition of anaerobic digestion process: A review. Bioresource Technolology 99, (2008) 4044-4064.

Li, Y.; Park, S.Y.; Zhu, J. Solid-state anaerobic digestion for methane production from organic waste. Renewable Sustainable Energy Reviews 15, (2011) 821-826.

Rozzi, A.; Remigi, E. Methods of assessing microbial activity and inhibition under anaerobic conditions: a literature review. Review in Environmental Science and Biotechnology 3, (2004) 93-115.

Rameshraja, D.; Suresh, S. Treatment of Tannery Wastewater by Various Oxidation and Combined Processes. International Journal of Environmental Research 5, (2011) 349-360.

Cassano, A.; Adzet, J.; Molinari, R.; Buonomenna, M.G.; Roig, J.; Drioli, E. Membrane treatment by nanofiltration of exhausted vegetable tannin liquors from the leather industry. Water Research 37, (2003) 2426-2434.

El-Manharawy, S.; Hafez, A.. Design and performance of the two-stage/two-pass RO membrane system for chromium removal from tannery wastewater. Part 3. Desalination 165, (2004) 141-51.

Unni Nair, B.; Rao R.J.; Thanikaivelan P.; Kanthimathi M.; Suresh, V. An improved product-process for cleaner chrome tanning in leather processing. Journal of Cleaner Production 9, (2001) 483-91.

Ravazzini A.M.; Van Nieuwenhuijzen A.F.; Van Der Graaf J.H.M.J. Direct ultrafiltration of municipal wastewater: comparison between filtration of raw sewage and primary clarifier effluent. Desalination 178, (2005) 51-62.

Sadr Ghayeni, S.B.; Madaeni, S.S.; Fane, A.G.; Schneider, R.P. Aspects of microfiltration and reverse osmosis in municipal wastewater reuse. Desalination 106, (1996) 25-29.

Field, J.; Sierra, R.; Lettinga, G. Ensayos anaerobios. Proc. of 4th Symp. on Wastewater Anaerobic Treatment, Valladolid, Spain, 1988. 52-81.

Angelidaki, I.; Alves, M.; Bolzonella, D.; Borzacconi, L.; Campos, J.L.; Guwy, A.J.; Kalyuzhnyi, S.; Jenicek, P.; Van Lier, J.B. Defining the biomethane potential (BMP) of solid organic wastes and energy crops: a proposed protocol for batch assays. Water Science Technology 59, (2009) 927-934.

APHA (1995). Standard methods for the examination of water and wastewater [J] (19th ed.). Washington: American Public Health Association.

APHA (1999). Estimation of bacterial density. In: Standard Methods for the Examination of Water and Wastewater [J] (17th ed.). Washington: American Public Health Association.

Kroeker, E.J.; Schulte, D.D.; Sparling, A.B.; & Lapp, H.M. Anaerobic treatment process stability. Journal of Water Pollution Control Federation 51, (1979) 718-727.

Chen, Y.; Cheng, J.; Creamer, K.S. Inhibition of anaerobic digestion process: a review. Bioresoure Technology 99, (2008) 4044-4064.

Al-Masri, M.R. Changes in biogas production due to different ratios of some animal and agricultural wastes. Bioresoure Technology 77, (2001) 97-100.

Schievano, A.; Pognani, M.; D'Imporzano, G.; Adani, F. Predicting anaerobic biogasification potential of ingestates and digestates of a full-scale biogas plant using chemical and biological parameters. Bioresoure Technology 99, (2008) 8112-8117.

Rodriguez, J.; Kleerebezem, R.; Lema, J.M.; Loosdresht, M.C.M. Modeling product formation in anaerobic mixed culture fermentations. Biotechnology and Bioengineering 93, (2005) 592-606.

Demirel, B.; Yenigün, O. Changes in microbial ecology in an anaerobic reactor. Bioresource Technology 97, (2006) 1201-1208.

Benítez, F.J.; Acero, J.L.; Leal, A.I.; González, M. The use of ultrafiltration and nanofiltration membranes for the purification of cork processing wastewater. Journal of Hazardous Materials 162, (2009) 1438-1445.

Mameri, N.; Halet F.; Drouiche, M.; Grib, H.; Lounici, H.; Pauss A.; Piron D.; Belhocine, D. Treatment of olive mill washing water by ultrafiltration. Canadian Journal of Chemical Engineering 78, (2000) 590-595.

Brites, A.M.; De Pinho, M.N. Ultrafiltration for colour removal of tannery dyeing wastewaters. Desalination 130, (2000) 47-154.

Mlaik, N.; Bouzid, J.; Belbahri, L.; Woodward, S.; Mechichi, T. Combined biological processing and microfiltration in the treatment of unhairing wastewater. Environmental Science and Pollution Research 19, (2012) 226-234.

Alonso, E.; Santos, A.; Solis, G.J.; Riesco, P. On the feasibility of urban wastewater tertiary treatment by membranes: a comparative assessment. Desalination 141, (2001) 39-51.

Vidal, G.; Nieto, J.; Cooman, K.; Gajardo, C.; Bornhardt, M. Unhairing effluents treated by activated sludge system. Journal of Hazardous Materials B122, (2004). 143-149.

Van Sprang, P.A.; Janssen C.R. Identification and confirmation of ammonia toxicity in contaminated sediments using a modified toxicity identification evaluation approach. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 16, (1997) 2501-2507.

Klinkow, N.; Oleksy-Frenzel, J.; Jeckel, M. Toxicity-directed fractionation of organic compounds in tannery wastewater with regard to their molecular weight and polarity. Water Research 32(1998) 2583-2592.


  • There are currently no refbacks.