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Chapter No. 2 : Microbial metabolism


Wastewater originates from different sources such as residences, institutions and industries and can be subject to dilution by storm water, groundwater and surface water. Due to the adverse effects of the pollutants present in wastewater, its discharge can cause serious environmental and health repercusions in the receiving surface water bodies.

While pollution prevention and control can be encouraged, wastewater treatment by biological, physical or chemical means are necessary to minimize the potential impacts of wastewater discharge and to favour the recovery of resources, named water itself, nutrients and biosolids.

Biological wastewater treatment, the central focus of this book, aims at degrading or adsorbing dissolved, colloidal, particulate and settleable matter into biological flocs or biofilms. This course consists of 3 video lectures on microbial metabolism presented by Prof. Yves Comeau, from Ecole Polytechnique, at Montreal, Canada, which introduce the principles and fundamentals to understand the microbial transformations that take place in biological wastewater treatment.

Time Framework for the Course: 1 week

Aims of the Course

  • To introduce fundamental and basic principles on microbiology and microbial processes in order to get a better understanding on the needs and functions of microorganisms involved in biological wastewater treatment processes.
  • To provide and refresh the basic knowledge of (i) stoichiometry and (ii) energetics and kinetics of the microbial growth processes as a basis to understand the microbial transformations occurring during biological wastewater treatment processes.

Learning objectives

After the sucessful completion of this chapter the participant will be able to:

  • Determine the stoichiometric and kinetic parameters of the metabolic processes (catabolism and anabolism) of the microorganisms involved in biological wastewater treatment as function of their external electron donors and electron acceptors in relation to the redox conditions usually observed in the treatment systems (such as anaerobic, anoxic and aerobic).

Last modified: Saturday, 2 January 2016, 5:23 AM