This study investigated the quantity and distribution of extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) in aerobic granules. Results showed that EPS play an important role in the formation and stabilisation of granules. The content of EPS significantly increases during the first weeks of biogranulation. An analysis of EPS in the granules revealed that the protein level was 5 times higher than in polysaccharides. The increase of protein content correlated with the growth of cell hydrophobicity (r2 = 0.95). EPS and hydrophobicity are important factors in cell adhesion and formation of granules. The aim of this work was also to determine the distribution of EPS in the granule structure. In situ EPS staining showed that EPS are located mostly in the center of granules and in the subsurface layer. The major components of the EPE matrix are proteins, nucleic acids and β-polysaccharides. These observations confirm the chemical extraction data and indicate that granule formation and stability are dependent on protein content.
Ammonia-oxidizing bacteria communities were evaluated in a completely mixed, laboratory scale membrane reactor (MBR) working under anoxic conditions for 5 months. The microorganisms in activated sludge were fed a synthetic medium containing 66-150 mg NH4 +-N/l. The age of the activated sludge in MBR was 50 days and the hydraulic retention time (HRT) was 3.3 days. The estimation of the diversity and complexity of the AOB community together with the identification of the dominant bacteria in the activated sludge under anoxic conditions were performed using denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) and DNA sequencing. Molecular analysis of the microbial community carried out with two microbial molecular markers, 16S rRNA gene and amoA gene, suggested that nitrification was led by a Nitrosomonas-like species. In the biocenosis of the investigated bioreactor, oxygen was the crucial selective parameter. The results obtained in this work showed that amoA gene research is more suitable to study the stability and effectiveness of ammonia oxidation. This information emphasizes the necessity of the usage of molecular markers based on functional genes instead of ribosomal ones in order to present the actual state of the process performed in bioreactors. It was also stated that Nitrosomonas -like bacteria are able to perform nitritation even in anoxic environment, that is probably the reason why these bacteria are the most common AOB in different bioreactors.
The paper deals with the problem of the determination of the effects of temperature on the efficiency of the nitrification process of industrial wastewater, as well as its toxicity to the test organisms. The study on nitrification efficiency was performed using wastewater from one of Polish chemical factories. The chemical factory produces nitrogen fertilizers and various chemicals. The investigated wastewater was taken from the influent to the industrial mechanical-biological wastewater treatment plant (WWTP). The WWTP guaranteed high removal efficiency of organic compounds defined as chemical oxygen demand (COD) but periodical failure of nitrification performance was noted in last years of the WWTP operation. The research aim was to establish the cause of recurring failures of nitrification process in the above mentioned WWTP. The tested wastewater was not acutely toxic to activated sludge microorganisms. However, the wastewater was genotoxic to activated sludge microorganisms and the genotoxicity was greater in winter than in spring time. Analysis of almost 3 years’ period of the WWTP operation data and laboratory batch tests showed that activated sludge from the WWTP under study is very sensitive to temperature changes and the nitrification efficiency collapses rapidly under 16°C. Additionally, it was calculated that in order to provide the stable nitrification, in winter period the sludge age (SRT) in the WWTP should be higher than 35 days.