The Microbiology of Wastewater

As your reliable partner for biological wastewater treatment, we provide support within the process optimization and the analytical quality control at the plant. With vermicon‘s products and services, a specific analysis, monitoring and control of the wastewater biocenosis are finally possible!

The tiny assistants of wastewater treatment plants

Biological wastwater treatment would be impossible without microorgansims, the smallest and most important assistants of wastewater treatment plants. Wastewater treatment plants are huge microbiological powerhouses, where microorganisms are responsible for the conversion of compounds and degradation of pollutants. Disturbances of the plant are usually based on disturbances of its microbial processes. Therefore, knowing the plant's biocenosis and thus being able to control its processes is essential.

Bacteria wastewater treatment

Why can't wastewater bacteria be detected by conventional methods?

Conventional detection of bacteria nowadays is still based on the work of Robert Koch and is not adequate for the analysis of complex samples like wastewater. Scientific studies prove that up to 99,9% of all wastewater bacteria are non-cultivable. Due to their lack of specificity and the morphological variability and gram variability of bacteria, basic staining methods are also insufficient. To get a realistic image of the microbiological conditions in the wastewater treatment plant it is necessary to analyze the bacteria directly in the wastewater sample.


Optimum Quality Control and Environment Protection

Action instead of reaction - direct insight into the wastewater treatment plant and monitoring its bacterial populations allow prompt intervention and action before process problems make an obvious impact. Disturbances in the biological treatment process can thus be prevented , while the plant‘s energy and cost efficiency can be increased tremendously.

vermicon AG offers a large portfolio of test kits and lab services for the monitoring of wastewater biology. Let us work together to make the water cycle even more efficient and more environment-friendly!

Microbiological Analysis

Why should you consider us the right partner for biological wastewater treatment?

VIT® Gene probe technology is the only method that allows a direct and highly specific detection of living bacteria in wastewater samples. Bacteria can be identfied, quantified and visualized.

With more than 20 years of experience, vermicon AG is your reliable partner in the area of biological wastewater treatment. Ask our clients!  



VIT® gene probes technology used on bacteria

What are VIT® gene probes?

Gene probes are tiny bits of genetic material, coupled with a dye. They enter and attach themselves to bacteria. Subsequently, the cells start to shine. Gene probes are designed to detect only specfic bacteria species or groups of bacteria. As a result, up to 100% of all known an unknown wastewater bacteria can be detected.

Microthrix parcivella leuchtet Rot nach der Analyse mit VIT®
Identical microscopic image after analysis with VIT®: phase contrast (left), viable Microthrix parcivella shines red (right)

Bacteria in activated sludge

Interesting to know:

Activated sludge typically contains up to 5 billion bacteria per ml. The bacteria have an average size of 2-3 µm.

  • shape: "anything goes" - rods, cones, filaments, spirilla etc.

  • generation times (how fast bacteria duplicate): a few minutes up to several days

  • up to 99,9% non-cultivable: do not grow on nutrient media

  • the majority of bacteria lives in wastewater flocs

Monitoring of biological wastewater treatment

We will help you with the analysis of malfunctions, with identification of optimization potentials, and with the implementation of a targeted microbiological monitoring aiming at a prevention of malfunctions. You will receive true insight into the microbiological state of all releveant areas of biological wastewater treatment at your plant. This allows to detect changes in the bacterial populations, even before chemical parameter indicate a problem.

Are you looking for a solution to a specfic problem? We can provide support with the following wastewater treatment issues: 

Degradation performance/ Populations
Sludge bulking and foaming
Biological phosphorus removal
Anaerobic reactor and anaerobic sludge
VIT® Vision - The Software for the wastewater biology

Monitoring of the wastewater biology with VIT®

Contact us!

Do you have any problem or question that is not answered at our website? We have much more to offer. Do not hesitate to get in touch with us!


Our practical workshop "Microbiology of wastewater" provides a well-balanced mix of theory and practice, including insight into your own samples, as well as know-how according to the lastest scientific findings.

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VIT® early warning system

Learn more about the VIT® early warning system and find out how it can help you with further imporoving your plants' operational safety.

VIT® early warning system