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Removal of organic pollutants and metabolic adaptation of microorganisms by micro-aeration.

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Environmental Risk Engineering Lab, Graduate School of Engineering, Hokkaido University, Kita-Ku, Sapporo, Japan.


Aerobic systems are high rate processes for wastewater treatment, but they consume much power for aeration. Several low-cost anaerobic systems have been developed for mid- and low-income countries. The removal efficiencies of nutrients, particulate matter, and pathogens are not satisfactory for the anaerobic systems. Micro-aeration is a type of low-cost aerobic application which enhances oxygen transfer through water surface. Trickling was found the most efficient method of micro-aeration and batch experiments were performed to evaluate the effectiveness. When soluble organic carbon was removed, ORP7 (redox potential rectified to pH at 7) were around -120 or +260 mV. When soluble organic carbon increased due to organic overload, ORP7 was around +30 mV. At +30 mV, carbon fraction of biomass increased to 0.54 (higher than average value of 0.46). It was presumable that the ORP7 of -120, +260, and +30 mV were anaerobic, aerobic, and internal storage mode, respectively. Maximum reaction rate of aerobic condition was four times as high as that of anaerobic condition. At internal storage mode, the rate was halved from aerobic mode. It is concluded that microorganisms adapt the metabolic systems to conform to the redox environment, which can be evaluated by ORP. Organic overload results metabolic shift to internal storage mode which retards mineralization of organic matter.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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