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Effect of Anaerobic HRT on Biological Phosphorus Removal and the Enrichment of Phosphorus Accumulating Organisms

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The purpose of this research was to develop a better understanding of the dynamic effects of anaerobic hydraulic retention time (HRT) on both enhanced biological phosphorus removal (EBPR) performance and enrichment of phosphorus accumulating organisms (PAOs). The research was conducted using laboratory-scale sequencing batch reactors inoculated with mixed microbial consortia and fed real wastewater. Exposing microorganisms to extended anaerobic HRTs is not recommended for EBPR configured systems. In this research, however, longer anaerobic exposure did not negatively affect performance even if volatile fatty acids were depleted. Further, extended anaerobic HRTs may positively affect phosphorus removal through enhanced aerobic uptake. The EBPR consortia also appear to maintain reserve energetic capacity in the form of polyphosphate that can be used to survive and grow under variable operational and environmental conditions. Finally, the tested EBPR systems yield mixed microbial consortia enriched with PAOs (specifically Candidatus Accumulibacter phosphatis) at approximately 7.1 to 21.6% of the total population.

Keywords: DGGE; enhanced biological phosphorus removal; polyphosphate; polyphosphate accumulating organisms; qPCR; volatile fatty acids

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: May 1, 2011

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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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