Photogranulation in a Hydrostatic Environment Occurs with Limitation of Iron
journal contributionposted on 13.07.2021, 19:15 by Abeera A. Ansari, Arfa A. Ansari, Ahmed S. Abouhend, Joseph G. Gikonyo, Chul Park
Filamentous cyanobacteria are an essential element of oxygenic photogranules for granule-based wastewater treatment with photosynthetic aeration. Currently, mechanisms for the selection of this microbial group and their development in the granular structure are not well understood. Here, we studied the characteristics and fate of iron in photogranulation that proceeds in a hydrostatic environment with an activated sludge (AS) inoculum. We found that the level of Fe in bulk liquids (FeBL) sharply increased due to the decay of the inoculum but quickly diminished along with the bloom of microalgae and the advent of the oxic environment. Iron linked with extracellular polymeric substances (FeEPS) continued to decline but reached steady low values, which occurred along with the appearance of granular structure. Strong negative correlations were found between FeEPS and the pigments specific for cyanobacteria. Spectroscopies revealed the presence of amorphous ferric oxides in pellet biomass, which seemed to remain unaltered during the photogranulation process. These results suggest that the availability of FeEPS in AS inoculumsafter algal bloomselects cyanobacteria, and the limitation of this Fe pool becomes an important driver for cyanobacteria to granulate in a hydrostatic environment. We therefore propose that the availability of iron has a strong influence on the photogranulation process.