METHODS AND RESULTS: Growth characteristics were compared in diluted and undiluted, settled and non-settled wastewater growing in anaerobic light and aerobic dark conditions; and also at different agitation speeds. The highest biomass (8.75 g l(-1)) and a reduction in chemical oxygen demand of 71% were obtained in unsettled, undiluted wastewater after 120 h culture with 15% inoculum. In settled wastewater, highest biomass (7.64 g l(-1)) and a COD reduction of 77% was also obtained after 120 h. Total biomass was higher (4.34 g l(-1)) after 120 h culture in anaerobic light compared to (3.23 g l(-1)) in aerobic dark growth.
CONCLUSIONS, SIGNIFICANCE AND IMPACT OF THE STUDY: Better performance, mean of total biomass (6.97 g l(-1) after 96 h), total carotenoids (4.24 mg g(-1) dry cell from 24 h) and soluble protein (431 microg ml(-1) after 96 h) were obtained from aerobic dark culture at 300 rev min(-1). The COD reduction, however, was lower (69%) after 96 h culture. Thus, the benefits in the production of bacterial biomass in non-sterilized sardine processing wastewater with the reduction of chemical oxygen demand could be achieved.