Biodegradability and toxicity of styrene in the anaerobic digestion process

Pablo Araya, Rolando Chamy, Manuel Mota, Madalena Alves

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Start-up and operation of an Upflow Anaerobic Sludge Blanket (UASB) reactor fed with an industrial effluent from a polymer synthesis plant containing 6 mg styrene 1-1 was unstable. In batch assays with 200 mg styrene 1-1, 74% of styrene was degraded at a rate of 7 ml methane g-1 volatile suspended solids day, without a lag phase. The toxicity limit (IC50) of styrene was 1.4 mM for the acetoclastic activity, 0.45 and 1.6 mM for the methanogenic activity in the presence of 30 mM of propionate and ethanol respectively. Instability of UASB operation was attributed to other compounds such as acrylates or detergents present in the industrial effluent.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1477-1481
Number of pages5
JournalBiotechnology Letters
Issue number18
StatePublished - 2000


  • Biodegradability
  • Granular sludge
  • Styrene
  • Toxicity


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