Yesterday, I was looking under the microscope at a wastewater sample an noticed several suctorians on my slide. Not mentioned nearly as often as stalked or crawling ciliates, suctorians indicate generally good water quality with floc formation. If you don't recall much about a suctorian, they look like a pin-cushion on a stalk (at least that is the first call about one that I got from a customer years ago).
Anyway, suctorians anchor themselves to floc much like a stalk cilaite. "Spikes" extend from the organism into the water instead of the cilia seen on stalk ciliates. Suctorian feeding makes them one of the most interesting wastewater protozoa. Say a free swimming ciliate or flagellate happens to come into contact with the suctorian's spikes. It is immediately immobilized by the spike and the ciliates cytoplasm is consumed by the suctorian. If you see this happening under the microscope, it makes excellent video.
So what does having suctorians present in wastewater mean for biomass health?
Erik Rumbaugh has been involved in biological waste treatment for over 20 years. He has worked with industrial and municipal wastewater facilities to ensure optimal performance of their treatment systems. He is a founder of Aster Bio (www.asterbio.com) specializing in biological waste treatment.
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