Net P-removal deterioration in enriched PAO sludge subjected to permanent aerobic conditions

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Recently, some research in the field of enhanced biological phosphorus removal (EBPR) has been focused on studying systems where the electron donor (substrate) and the electron acceptor (nitrate or oxygen) are present simultaneously. This can occur, for example, in a full scale wastewater treatment plant during heavy rainfall periods when the anaerobic hydraulic retention time is temporarily shortened. To study this situation that could induce EBPR failure, the operation of a sequencing batch reactor (SBR) working under alternating anaerobic-aerobic conditions with an enriched EBPR population (50% Candidatus Accumulibacter phosphatis and less than 1% Candidatus Competibacter phosphatis) was shifted to strict aerobic operation. Seven cycle studies were performed during the 11 days of aerobic operation. Net P-removal was observed in this aerobic SBR during the first 4 days of operation but the system could not achieve net-P removal after this period, although the microbial composition, in terms of percentage of Accumulibacter and Competibacter, did not change significantly. The observed changes in the different compounds analysed (phosphorus, acetate, glycogen and PHB) as well as in the OUR profile indicate that metabolic changes are produced for the adaptation of PAO to aerobic conditions. © 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-126
JournalJournal of Biotechnology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 3 May 2006


  • Enhanced biological phosphorus removal (EBPR)
  • Fluorescence in situ hybridisation (FISH)
  • Oxygen uptake rate (OUR)
  • Phosphorus accumulating organisms (PAO)
  • Wastewater


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