This research was conducted to identify the most efficient biomass out of five different types of biomass sources for anaerobic treatment of Olive Mill Wastewater (OMW). This study was first focused on examining the selected biomass in anaerobic batch systems with sodium acetate solutions (control study). Then, the different types of biomass were tested with raw OMW (water-diluted) and with pretreated OMW by coagulation-flocculation using Poly Aluminum Chloride (PACl) combined with hydrated lime (Ca(OH)2). Two types of biomass from wastewater treatment systems of a citrus juice producing company "PriGat" and from a citric acid manufacturing factory "Gadot", were found to be the most efficient sources of microorganisms to anaerobically treat both sodium acetate solution and OMW. Both types of biomass were examined under different concentration ranges (1-40 g l-1) of OMW in order to detect the maximal COD tolerance for the microorganisms. The results show that 70-85% of COD removal was reached using Gadot biomass after 8-10 days when the initial concentration of OMW was up to 5 g l-1, while a similar removal efficiency was achieved using OMW of initial COD concentration of 10 g l-1 in 2-4 days of contact time with the PriGat biomass. The physico-chemical pretreatment of OMW was found to enhance the anaerobic activity for the treatment of OMW with initial concentration of 20 g l-1 using PriGat biomass. This finding is attributed to reducing the concentrations of polyphenols and other toxicants originally present in OMW upon the applied pretreatment process.

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