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J Biotechnol. 2002 May 23;95(3):249-56.

Extraction of extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) of sludges.

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Department of Civil Engineering, Centre for Environmental Engineering Research, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong.


The efficacies of extracting extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) from aerobic, acidogenic and methanogenic sludges using EDTA, cation exchange resin and formaldehyde under various conditions were compared. Results show that formaldehye plus NaOH was most effective in extracting EPS for all sludges; only 1.1-1.2% of DNA in the sludge samples were detected, suggesting the EPS extracted were not contaminated by intracellular substances. For each gram of volatile solids, formaldehyde-NaOH extracted 165, 179 and 102 mg of EPS from aerobic, acidogenic and methanogenic sludges, respectively. All EPS were mainly composed of carbohydrate, protein and humic substance, plus small quantities of uronic acid and DNA. Carbohydrate was predominant in the acidogenic sludge (62% in the EPS extracted by formaldehyde-NaOH), whereas protein was predominant in the methanogenic sludge (41%). Humic substance, which has often been overlooked, accounted for 30.6, 8.4 and 22.8% of the extracted EPS from aerobic, acidogenic and methanogenic sludges, respectively. However, judging from EPS quantities estimated from confocal laser scanning microscopic observations, formaldehyde-NaOH extracted only a limited portion of EPS. Optimization of extraction procedures and/or development of a more effective extraction method are warranted.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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