Regular Articles

The biological effect of metal ions on the granulation of aerobic granular activated sludge

Wen Hao , Yaochen Li , Junping Lv , Lisha Chen , Jianrong Zhu


Received July 21, 2015,Revised October 13, 2015, Accepted October 14, 2015, Available online February 01, 2016

Volume 28,2016,Pages 252-259

As a special biofilm structure, microbial attachment is believed to play an important role in the granulation of aerobic granular activated sludge (AGAS). This experiment was to investigate the biological effect of Ca2 +, Mg2 +, Cu2 +, Fe2 +, Zn2 +, and K+ which are the most common ions present in biological wastewater treatment systems, on the microbial attachment of AGAS and flocculent activated sludge (FAS), from which AGAS is always derived, in order to provide a new strategy for the rapid cultivation and stability control of AGAS. The result showed that attachment biomass of AGAS was about 300% higher than that of FAS without the addition of metal ions. Different metal ions had different effects on the process of microbial attachment. FAS and AGAS reacted differently to the metal ions as well, and in fact, AGAS was more sensitive to the metal ions. Specifically, Ca2 +, Mg2 +, and K+ could increase the microbial attachment ability of both AGAS and FAS under appropriate concentrations, Cu2 +, Fe2 +, and Zn2 + were also beneficial to the microbial attachment of FAS at low concentrations, but Cu2 +, Fe2 +, and Zn2 + greatly inhibited the attachment process of AGAS even at extremely low concentrations. In addition, the acylated homoserine lactone (AHL)-based quorum sensing system, the content of extracellular polymeric substances and the relative hydrophobicity of the sludges were greatly influenced by metal ions. As all these parameters had close relationships with the microbial attachment process, the microbial attachment may be affected by changes of these parameters.

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