Synthetic polymers are widely used in the treatment of biosludge (waste activated sludge) to enhance its dewaterability. This paper discusses the results of a systematic study using hemoglobin (Hb) from animal blood and methylated hemoglobin (MeHb), a derivative in which a methyl group replaces the hydrogen carboxyl groups, to replace synthetic polymers to improve the dewatering efficiency of biosludge. With regular hemoglobin, no improvement in biosludge dewatering was found. With 10% of methylated hemoglobin per total solids content, however, the dry solids content of biosludge increased from 10.2 (±0.3) wt% to 15.0 (±1.0) wt%. Zeta potential measurements showed a decrease in the negative surface charge of the particles in biosludge from −34.3 (±3.2) mV to −19.0 (±2.1) mV after the treatment with methylated hemoglobin. This, along with an unchanged particle size distribution after conditioning, suggests that charge neutralization is likely the main cause of particle flocculation. With charges neutralized, the extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) around the biosludge flocs become loose, releasing the trapped water, thus increasing dewaterability.
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