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Glutamate as sole carbon source for enhanced biological phosphorus removal

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Enhanced Biological Phosphorus Removal (EBPR) is based on the enrichment of sludge in polyphosphate accumulating organisms (PAO). Candidatus Accumulibacter is the bacterial community member most commonly identified as PAO in EBPR systems when volatile fatty acids (VFA) are the carbon source. However, it is necessary to understand the role of non-Accumulibacter PAO in the case of wastewater with low VFA content. This work shows the first successful long-term operation of an EBPR system with glutamate as sole carbon and nitrogen source, resulting in the enrichment of sludge in the genus Thiothrix (37%), the family Comamonadaceae (15.6%) and Accumulibacter (7.7%). The enrichment was performed in an anaerobic/anoxic/oxic (A2/O) continuous pilot plant, obtaining stable biological N and P removal. This microbial community performed anaerobic P-release with only 18–29% of the observed PHA storage in Accumulibacter-enriched sludge and with slight glycogen storage instead of consumption, indicating the involvement of other carbon storage routes not related to PHA and glycogen. Thiothrix could be clearly involved in P-removal because it is able of accumulating Poly-P, probably without PHA synthesis, but with glutamate involvement. On the other hand, Comamonadaceae could participate in degradation of glutamate and denitrification, but its involvement in P-uptake cannot be reliably concluded.




Rey-Martínez, N., Badia-Fabregat, M., Guisasola, A., & Baeza, J. A. (2019). Glutamate as sole carbon source for enhanced biological phosphorus removal. Science of the Total Environment, 657, 1398–1408.

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