Development of a granular sludge with high strength, high biological activity and a narrow settling distribution is necessary for optimal operation of high-rate upflow anaerobic treatment systems. Several studies have compared granules produced from different wastewaters but these have largely been from laboratory-fed reactors or compared granules from full-scale reactors fed similar wastewater types. Though two authors have commented on the inferiority of granules produced by a protein-based feed, the properties of these granules have not been characterised. In this paper, granules from full-scale reactors treating fruit and vegetable cannery effluent, two brewery effluents and a pig abattoir (slaughterhouse) were compared in terms of basic composition, size distribution, density, settling velocity, shear strength, and EPS content. The results supported previous qualitative observations by other researchers that indicate granule properties depend more on wastewater type rather than reactor design or operating conditions such as pre-acidification level. The cannery-fed granules had excellent shear strength, settling distribution and density. Granules from the two brewery-fed reactors had statistically the same bulk properties, which were still acceptable for upflow applications. The protein-grown granule had poor strength and settling velocity. Copyright © 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd.
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