Biomass granulation in an aerobic:anaerobic-enhanced biological phosphorus removal process in a sequencing batch reactor with varying pH.

Biotechnology Research Centre, La Trobe University, Bendigo, VIC 3552, Australia.
Journal of Industrial Microbiology (Impact Factor: 1.8). 05/2009; 36(7):885-93. DOI: 10.1007/s10295-009-0566-3
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Long-term influences of different steady-state pH conditions on microbial community composition were determined by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) in a laboratory scale reactor configured for enhanced biological phosphorus removal (EBPR). Chemical profiles were consistent with shifts in populations from polyphosphate-accumulating organisms (PAO) to glycogen-accumulating organisms (GAO) when pH fell from pH 7.5 to 7.0 and then to 6.5. While biomass was both dispersed and flocculated at pH 7.5, almost complete granulation occurred gradually after pH was dropped to 7.0, and these granules increased in size as the pH was reduced further to 6.5. Reverting back to pH 7.5 led to granule breakdown and corresponding increases in anaerobic phosphate release. Granules consisted almost entirely of Accumulibacter PAO cells, while putative GAO populations were always present in small numbers. Results suggest that low pH may contribute to granulation under these operational conditions. While chemical profiles suggested the PAO:GAO balance was changing as pH fell, FISH failed to reveal any marked corresponding increase in GAO abundances. Instead, TEM evidence suggested the Accumulibacter PAO phenotype was becoming more like that of a GAO. These data show how metabolically adaptable the Accumulibacter PAO can be under anaerobic:aerobic conditions in being able to cope with marked changes in plant conditions. They suggest that decreases in EBPR capacity may not necessarily reflect shifts in community composition, but in the existing population metabolism.

1 Bookmark
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: To better understand granule growth and breakage processes in aerobic granular sludge systems, the particle size of aerobic granules was tracked over 50 days of wastewater treatment within four sequencing batch reactors fed with abattoir wastewater. These experiments tested a novel hypothesis stating that granules equilibrate to a certain stable granule size (the critical size) which is determined by the influence of process conditions on the relative rates of granule growth and granule breakage or attrition. For granules that are larger than the critical size, granule breakage and attrition outweighs granule growth, and causes an overall reduction in granule size. For granules at the critical size, the overall growth and size reduction processes are balanced, and granule size is stable. For granules that are smaller than the critical size, granule growth outweighs granule breakage and attrition, and causes an overall increase in granule size. The experimental reactors were seeded with mature granules that were either small, medium, or large sized, these having respective median granule sizes of 425 μm, 900 μm and 1125 μm. An additional reactor was seeded with a mixture of the sized granules to represent the original source of the granular sludge. The experimental results were analysed together with results of a previous granule formation study that used mixed seeding of granules and floccular sludge. The analysis supported the critical size hypothesis and showed that granules in the reactors did equilibrate towards a common critical size of around 600-800 μm. Accordingly, it is expected that aerobic granular reactors at steady-state operation are likely to have granule size distributions around a characteristic critical size. Additionally, the results support that maintaining a quantity of granules above a particular size is important for granule formation during start-up and for process stability of aerobic granule systems. Hence, biomass washout needs to be carefully managed to optimize granule formation during the reactor start-up.
    Water Research 06/2013; · 4.66 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The effects of glucose on enhanced biological phosphorus removal (EBPR) activated sludge enriched with acetate was investigated using sequencing batch reactors. A glucose/acetate mixture was serially added to the test reactor in ratios of 25/75%, 50/50%, and 75/25% and the EBPR activity was compared to the control reactor fed with 100% acetate. P removal increased at a statistically significant level to a near-complete in the test reactor when the mixture increased to 50/50%. However, EBPR deteriorated when the glucose/acetate mixture increased to 75/25% in the test reactor and when the control reactor abruptly switched to 100% glucose. These results, in contrast to the EBPR conventional wisdom, suggest that the addition of glucose at moderate levels in wastewaters does not impede and may enhance EBPR, and that glucose waste products should be explored as an economical sustainable alternative when COD enhancement of EBPR is needed.
    Bioresource Technology 07/2012; 121:19-24. · 5.04 Impact Factor
  • Environmental Microbiology Reports 12/2009; 1(6):563-568. · 3.26 Impact Factor