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Fishing for indigenous anammox bacteria
Expanded Title:Anammox (anaerobic ammonium oxidizing) bacteria are slow-growing, anaerobic autotrophs that convert ammonium and nitrite to dinitrogen gas. Consequently, these bacteria require 25 % less metabolic energy than the bacteria employed in conventional biological nitrogen removal processes. In addition, these bacteria do not need an organic carbon source and have a low sludge production. Sludge and energy are two major challenges in the operation of wastewater works. The primary aim of this project was to identify and verify the presence of anammox bacteria in samples obtained from various anaerobic habitats in South Africa and to enrich for the organisms. Samples were obtained from anerobic and activated sludge plants from around Cape Town. In addition, sediment mud samples were obtained from the ocean. The results may be summarised as follows: 1) Microbiological techniques demonstrated albeit low levels of anammox bacteria in ocean and wastewater samples. 2) Enrichment proved to be difficult and the research resulted in recommendations for future enrichment studies. Enrichment screening for anammox bacteria in small-volume reactors can be considered ineffective, since oxygen toxicity has a greater impact due to diffusion. 3) The microbiological techniques of FISH, 16S gene sequencing and pyrosequencing were effective to varying degrees in identifying anammox bacteria. While all objectives were not fully realised due to the sensitivity of the organisms, the benefit of this biological nitrogen removal process remains attractive, and the establishment of viable anammox populations from the environment still remain the most important step in this work. Since the presence of anammox bacteria was demonstrated in natural and man made environments in South Africa, the effective harnessing of these indigenous bacteria to improve wastewater treatment would be an ideal outcome, if this work is further pursued. A key reccommendation for future research is the use of seed anammox bacteria from an existing anammox process or the lengthening of the enrichment period to greater than 2 years.
Date Published:01/12/2011
Document Type:Research Report
Document Subjects:Water Resource Management/IWRM - Planning and development, Ecosystem - Resource Economics
Document Format:Report
Document File Type:pdf
Research Report Type:Standard
WRC Report No:1823/1/11
ISBN No:978-1-4312-0209-6
Authors:Stone W; Wilsenach JA; Mouton M; Botha A
Project No:K5/1823
Organizations:University of Stellenbosch; Virtual Consulting
Document Size:6 100 KB
Attachments:EXECUTIVE SUMMARY for 1823.pdf
Table of Contents for 1823.PNG
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