Sulfur compounds play a significant role in low treatment efficiency, production
of corrosive gases and unpleasant odors during sludge anaerobic digestion, which limits its
environment and economic benefits. Better understanding of sulfur transformations, inhibitions
and inhibition control methods is deemed necessary for enhancing the wider application
of sludge anaerobic digestion. This review presented a detailed summary of research
on the pathways and properties of sulfur transformations (dissimilation, assimilation and
desulfurization), sulfur inhibitors (e.g. sulfide and sulfate reducing bacteria) and their inhibition
mechanisms in sludge anaerobic digestion. The effects and mechanisms of various
physical (e.g. thermal and ultrasound pretreatments), chemical (e.g. oxidative pretreatments
and adding metal salts) and biological control methods (microaerobic desulfuration) on sulfur
inhibition were also evaluated in sludge anaerobic digestion. Besides, a proper method was proposed to control
sulfur inhibition in sludge anaerobic digestion according to existing studies.
Keywords: Sludge, anaerobic digestion, sulfur, transformation, inhibition, inhibition control.
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