Using Environmental Genomics ™ - Aster Bio's Environmental 16s rDNA testing platform - to evaluate wastewater treatment plant biomass
Most wastewater monitoring looks at secondary indicators of biomass health. While useful, there is a time delay before changes in biomass result in settling or removal efficiency. How do you look at the microbes inside the MLSS or biofilms? Ten years ago, the answer was usually plate counts or early DNA testing methods that required culturing separate isolates and long testing times. Advances in technology have made high throughput DNA analysis of mixed cultures possible since 2010. As the science has improved equipment and databases, improved analytical technology is available. For the past three years, Aster Bio has been making extensive use of 16s rDNA testing to determine the natural microbial makeup of various wastewater treatment plants. We have built our own database of microbes found in various industrial wastewaters and how they drift during operational changes and periods of stress.
Below is an interesting data set for Ammonia Oxidizing Bacteria (AOB) - often called nitrifiers, the AOB convert ammonia into nitrite and are vital for permit compliance. The Environmental Genomics testing gives each genera as a % of the total biomass. We took three time series samples in an industrial extended aeration activated sludge unit that was operating at target treatment efficiencies.
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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