Anaerobic reactors and anaerobic sludges

The anaerobic wastewater treatment process can be divided in four subsequent steps, which are accomplished by different populations. Each of these steps can be monitored with VIT®, ensuring overall stability of the process.

Anaerobic processes

The last step of anaerobic processes, as they take place e.g. in anaerobic reactors in municipal wastewater treatment plants or anaerobic sludges in industrial wastewater treatment plants, is the production of methane gas, which can be re-introduced to the energetic cycle.

4 phases of microbiology

Typically, the production of biogas consists of four phases. In the first phase, hydrolysis, large organic compounds are degraded. In the second phase, acidogenesis, volatile fatty acids, alcohols, amino acids and water are acidified and produced. In the third phase, acetogenesis, acetic acid is produced and in the fourth and final phase, methanogenesis, the valuable methane gas is formed. While the first three phases are mainly controlled by bacteria, the factor responsible for the last and decisive step are methane-producing archaea.

Control with VIT®

With VIT® gene probe technology, the populations most significant for the anaerobic process can be tracked and changes in its stability can thus be recognized at an early stage. Especially the development of methane-producing archaea, who are in control of the crucial fourth phase of methane gas production, can be identified and observed for changes. This results in a much better control and stability of the complex anaerobic process.

Phase contrast image

Phase contrast image of anaerobic sludge.

After the analysis with VIT®: methane-building archaea shine

Identical view, but specific detection of methane-building archaea with VIT®.

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