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Ability of Specific Enriched Denitrifying Culture to Utilize Other Carbon Sources

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The addition of external carbon sources for denitrification becomes necessary for wastewater treatment plants in order to meet more stringent requirement of effluent nitrogen (N) discharge to surface waters. Price volatility and safety issues associated with methanol, the commonly used external carbon source, has motivated the investigation on other alternative compounds capable of efficiently supporting denitrification. One practical concern with selecting alternative carbon sources is the adaptation/acclimation time required for establishing the populations specifically capable of utilizing a certain carbon source. In this study, we evaluated the ability of specific acclimated biomass to instantly utilize other carbon sources by comparing the immediate shortterm utilization rate of various carbon sources by three lab-acclimated denitrifying populations enriched with three different carbon sources, namely acetate, methanol and MicroCm™. Moreover, a review of the biochemical pathways for anoxic metabolism of these carbons is presented to highlight the key enzymes/pathways involved in the utilization of each specific carbon compound, providing some insights into the ability of a specific carbon enriched denitrifying population to utilize other carbon sources. The microbial population structures and dynamics associated with various carbon-specific denitrifying enriched cultures were also investigated using Automated Ribosomal Intergenic Spacer Analysis (ARISA) that differentiates the bacterial species based on the length of the intergenic region between the 16S and 23S ribosomal RNA. This new ecological approach reveals the differences in the microbial community structures of different denitrifying cultures and correspondingly the different denitrification behavior observed.
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Keywords: ARISA and Community structure; Biological nutrient removal; Carbon sources; Denitrification; MicroCmâ„¢; Nitrogen removal

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2009-01-01

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