Influence of temperature, pH and dissolved oxygen concentration on enhanced biological phosphorus removal under strictly aerobic conditions Academic Article uri icon


  • Previous research has suggested that enhanced biological phosphorus removal (EBPR) from wastewater can be achieved under continuous aerobic conditions over the short term. However, little is known how environmental conditions might affect aerobic EBPR performance. Consequently we have investigated the impact of temperature, pH and dissolved oxygen (DO) concentrations on EBPR performance under strictly aerobic conditions. A sequencing batch reactor (SBR) was operated for 108 days on a six-hour cycle (four cycles a day). The SBR ran under alternating anaerobic-aerobic conditions as standard and then operated under strictly aerobic conditions for one cycle every three or four days. SBR operational temperature (10, 15, 20, 25 and 30°C), pH (6, 7, 8 and 9) and DO concentration (0.5, 2.0 and 3.5mg/L) were changed consecutively during the aerobic cycle. Recorded increases in mixed liquor phosphorus (P) concentrations during aerobic carbon source uptake (P release) were affected by the biomass P content rather than the imposed changes in the operational conditions. Thus, P release levels increased with biomass P content. By contrast, subsequent aerobic P assimilation (P uptake) levels were both affected by changes in operational temperature and pH, and peaked at 20-25°C and pH 7-8. Highest P uptake detected under these SBR operating conditions was 15.4 mg Pg-MLSS(-1) (at 25°C, pH 7 and DO 2.0mg/L). The ability of the community for linked aerobic P release and P uptake required the presence of acetate in the medium, a finding which differs from previous data, where these are reported to occur in the absence of any exogenous carbon source. Fluorescence in situ hybridization was performed on samples collected from the SBR, and Candidatus 'Accumulibacter phosphatis' cells were detected with PAOmix probes through the operational periods. Thus, Candidatus 'Accumulibacter phosphatis' seemed to perform P removal in the SBR as shown in previous studies on P removal under strictly aerobic conditions.

publication date

  • December 2011