Environmental biology

Effects of phosphorus and nitrogen limitation on PHA productionin activated sludge

Qinxue Wen , Zhiqiang Chen , Ting Tian , Wei Chen


Received November 28, 2009,Revised March 17, 2010, Accepted , Available online

Volume 22,2010,Pages 1602-1607

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The e ects of phosphorus and nitrogen limitation on polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) production and accumulation by activated sludge biomass with acetate as a carbon source were investigated. Pre-selected influent carbon-phosphorus (C:P, W/W) of 100, 160, 250, 500 and 750, and carbon-nitrogen (C:N, W/W) of 20, 60, 100, 125 and 180 were applied in the phosphorus limitation experiments and the nitrogen limitation experiments, respectively. The maximum PHA accumulation up to 59% of the cell dry weight with a PHA productivity of 1.61 mg PHA/mg COD consumed was observed at the C:N 125 in the nitrogen limitation experiment. This value was much higher than that obtained in previous studies with a normal substrate feeding. The study showed that activated sludge biomass would produce more polyhydroxybutyrate than polyhydroxyvalerate under the stress of nutrient limitation, especially under phosphorus limitation conditions. The experimental result also indicated that both phosphorus and nitrogen limitation may cause sludge bulking.

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