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Effects of Nitrogen and Phosphorus Limitation on the Activated Sludge Biomass in a Kraft Mill Biotreatment System

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Unlike wastewater, pulp and paper mill effluents are generally severely deficient in bioavailable nitrogen and phosphorus. The influence of nitrogen and phosphorus limitations on steady-state or typical pulp and paper mill activated sludge floc properties and performance was studied using a bioreactor-fed synthetic raw mill effluent and seeded with mill activated sludge. Limitation of either nitrogen or phosphorus decreased growth, five-day biochemical oxygen demand, and suspended solids removal. Nitrogen limitation greatly enhanced activated sludge floc poly-β-hydroxybutyrate (PHB), but not carbohydrate or extracellular polymeric substances (EPS). In contrast, phosphorus limitation increased total floc carbohydrate and EPS, but not PHB. The flocs showed little ability to store either nitrogen or phosphorus.

Nitrogen limitation, but not phosphorus limitation, produced much more negative net floc surface charge, increasing fines, while phosphorus limitation, but not nitrogen limitation, increased the floc bound water content and surface hydrophobicity and decreased fines.
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Keywords: activated sludge; effluent treatment; kraft mills; nitrogen; nutrients; phosphorus; poly-beta-hydroxybutyrate

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2006-11-01

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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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