Conventional morphological and functional evaluation of the microbial populations in a sequencing batch reactor performing EBPR

J Environ Sci Health A Tox Hazard Subst Environ Eng. 2003 Aug;38(8):1499-515. doi: 10.1081/ese-120021474.


To help confirm and interpret the Enhanced Biological Phosphorus Removal (EBPR) performance of the microbial populations in a laboratory-scale activated sludge (AS) system, conventional microscopic examinations were carried out. A lab-scale sequencing batch reactor (SBR), named ARC, was fed with acetate, as the sole carbon source, and operated for EBPR. Daily monitoring and cyclic behavior evaluation studies indicated that the system always worked for EBPR in the long run, with efficiencies depending on the influent characteristics and operational stability. Poly-P and PHB-staining experiments revealed that the enriched biomass of the reactor was quite diverse in terms of morphology, hosting populations of traditional rod-shaped PAOs, tetrad/sarcina-like cells (referred here as TFOs, rather than GAOs), diplococci-shaped cells, and staphylococci-like clustered populations, in addition to few filaments. Although the microscopic observations were qualitative, rather than quantitative, they seemed likely to correlate well to the biochemical performance of the reactor.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria
  • Biomass
  • Bioreactors*
  • Carbon / metabolism
  • Phosphorus / isolation & purification*
  • Phosphorus / metabolism*
  • Population Dynamics
  • Waste Disposal, Fluid*


  • Phosphorus
  • Carbon