Distinctive differences in the granulation of saline and non-saline enriched anaerobic ammonia oxidizing (AMX) bacteria

Younggyun Choi , Victory Fiifi Dsane , Sumin An


Received June 17, 2021,Revised , Accepted August 11, 2021, Available online February 10, 2022

Volume 34,2022,Pages 162-173

The growing interest in the anaerobic ammonium oxidizing (AMX) process in treating high nitrogen containing wastewaters and a comprehensive study into the granulation mechanism of these bacteria under diverse environmental conditions over the years have been unequal. To this effect, the distinctive differences in saline adapted AMX (S_AMX) and non-saline adapted AMX (NS_AMX) granules are presented in this study. It was observed that substrate utilisation profiles, granule formation mechanism, and pace towards granulation differed marginally for the two adaptation conditions. The different microbial dominant aggregation types aided in splitting the 471 days operated lab-scale SBRs into three distinct phases. In both reactors, phase III (granules dominant phase) showed the highest average nitrogen removal efficiency of 87.9% ± 4.8% and 85.6% ± 3.6% for the S_AMX and NS_AMX processes, respectively. The extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) quantity and major composition determined its role either as a binding agent in granulation or a survival mechanism in saline adaptation. It was also observed that granules of the S_AMX reactor were mostly loosely and less condensed aggregates of smaller sub-units and flocs while those of the NS_AMX reactor were compact agglomerates. The ionic gradient in saline enrichment led to an increased activity of the Na+/K+ – ATPase, hence enriched granules produced higher cellular adenosine triphosphate molecules which finally improved the granules active biomass ratio by 32.96%. Microbial community showed that about three to four major known AMX species made up the granules consortia in both reactors. Proteins and expression of functional genes differed for these different species.

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