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Vol. 144, 20
16, Pages: 1797–1806

Enhanced phosphorus recovery and biofilm microbial community changes in an alternating anaerobic/aerobic biofilter

Qing Tian, Say Kee Ong, Xuehui Xie, Fang Li, Yanbin Zhu, Feng Rui Wang, Bo Yang

Department of Environmental Science and Engineering, DongHua University, 2999 Shanghai North People's Road, 201620, PR China.


The operation of an alternating anaerobic/aerobic biofilter (AABF), treating synthetic wastewater, was modified to enhance recovery of phosphorus (P). The AABF was periodically fed with an additional carbon source during the anaerobic phase to force the release of biofilm-sequestered P which was then harvested and recovered. A maximum of 48% of the total influent P was found to be released in the solution for recovery. Upon implementation of periodic P bio-sequestering and P harvesting, the predominant bacterial communities changed from β-Proteobacteria to γ-Proteobacteria groups. The genus Pseudomonas of γ-Proteobacteria was found to enrich greatly with 98% dominance. Dense intracellular poly-P granules were found within the cells of the biofilm, confirming the presence of P accumulating organisms (PAOs). Periodic addition of a carbon source to the AABF coupled with intracellular P reduction during the anaerobic phase most probably exerted environmental stress in the selection of Pseudomonas PAOs over PAOs of other phylogenic types. Results of the study provided operational information on the selection of certain microbial communities for P removal and recovery. This information can be used to further advance P recovery in biofilm systems such as the AABFs.

Keywords: Phosphorus; Recovery; Biofilter; Microbial community; Phosphorus accumulating organisms.

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