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Bacterial Cell Monitoring in Wastewater Treatment Plants by Flow Cytometry

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The activated sludge process is performed by a variable and mixed community of microorganisms in an aerobic aquatic environment, in which bacteria constitute the majority and represent the main microorganisms responsible for the degradation process in a plant. In this work, we monitored bacterial charge in different wastewater treatment plants by flow cytometry, also evaluating chlorination effects on bacterial viability, both by flow cytometry and traditional plate counts. Maximum values of bacterial charge were registered in the aeration tank of all plants monitored. Cell viability did not show significant differences ( p > 0.05) in samples collected in “before chlorination” and “wastewater effluent” treatment steps; this suggests that the chlorination was not able to decrease total viable bacterial charge.

In this work, we discuss the need to improve microbiological analyses, both in terms of measuring other potential pathogens and of using new methodological approaches in the traditional evaluation of the microbiological quality of effluents.

Keywords: Escherichia coli; cell viability; flow cytometry; monitoring; wastewater treatment plants

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: April 1, 2008

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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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