Effects of pH on the Rates of Aerobic Metabolism of Phosphate-Accumulating and Glycogen-Accumulating Organisms
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The effect of pH on the aerobic metabolism of phosphorus-accumulating organisms (PAOs) and glycogen-accumulating organisms (GAOs) was studied using aerobic batch experiments performed at pH 6.5, 7.0, and 7.5. For PAOs, the rates of phosphate uptake, polyhydroxy-alkanoates consumption, and biomass growth observed at pH 6.5 were 42, 70, and 53%, respectively, of the rates observed at pH 7.0. In contrast, the rates for GAOs were relatively independent of pH for the range tested. The results suggest that the stability of biological excess phosphorus removal (BEPR) is strongly dependent on the pH in the aerobic zone. If the pH is low, growth of PAOs will be inhibited whereas the growth of GAOs will be only mildly affected. This may lead to the proliferation of GAOs in BEPR systems, resulting in reduced phosphorus removal.