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Competition between Polyphosphate- and Glycogen-Accumulating Organisms in Enhanced-Biological-Phosphorus-Removal Systems: Effect of Temperature and Sludge Age

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Temperature and sludge age were found to be important factors in determining the outcome of competition between polyphosphate-accumulating organisms (PAOs) and glycogen-accumulating non-polyphosphate organisms (GAOs) and the resultant stability of enhanced-biological-phosphorus removal (EBPR). At 20°C and a 10-day sludge age, PAOs were dominant in an anaerobic/aerobic (A/O) sequencing-batch reactor (SBR), as a result of their higher anaerobic-acetate-uptake rate and aerobic-biomass yield than GAOs. However, at 30°C and a 10-day sludge age, GAOs were able to outcompete PAOs in the A/O SBR because of their higher anaerobic-acetate-uptake rate than PAOs. At 30°C and a 5-day sludge age, GAOs coexisted with PAOs in the A/O SBR, resulting in unstable EBPR performance. At 30°C, reducing the sludge age from 5 to 3 days improved the EBPR efficiency drastically, and the EBPR performance was stable. The maximum specific-anaerobic-acetate-uptake rates of GAO-enriched sludge were affected by temperature with the Arrhenius temperature coefficient  of 0.042 (°C−1) between 10 and 30°C. The effect of sludge age (5 and 10 days) on the maximum specific-anaerobic-acetate-uptake rates of GAO-enriched activated sludge, however, was not significant. For the PAO-enriched activated sludge, the maximum specific-anaerobic-acetate-uptake rate did not change significantly between 20 and 30°C, but significantly increased from 0.38 to 0.52 mmol-C/mmol-C/h as the sludge age decreased from 10 to 3 days at 30°C.

Keywords: acetate-uptake rate; enhanced-biological-phosphorus removal; glycogen-accumulating nonpolyphosphate organisms; polyphosphate-accumulating organisms; sludge age; temperature

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2006

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  • Water Environment Research® (WER®) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

    Published as: Sewage Works Journal, 1928 - 1949; Sewage and Industrial Wastes, 1950 - 1959; Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 1959 - Oct 1989; Research Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, Nov 1989 - 1991; Water Environment Research, 1992 - present.
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