Enzyme Activities in Waste Water and Activated Sludge

Ole Nybroe, Per Elberg Jørgensen, Mogens Henze

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The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the potential of selected enzyme activity assays to determine microbial abundance and heterotrophic activity in waste water and activated sludge. In waste water, esterase and dehydrogenase activities were found to correlate with microbial abundance measured as colony forming units of heterotrophic bacteria. A panel of four enzyme activity assays, α-glucosidase, alanine-aminopeptidase, esterase and dehydrogenase were used to characterize activated sludge and anaerobic hydrolysis sludge from a pilot scale plant. The enzymatic activity profiles were distinctly different, suggesting that microbial populations were different, or had different physiological properties, in the two types of sludge. Enzyme activity profiles in activated sludge from four full-scale plants seemed to be highly influenced by the composition of the inlet. Addition of hydrolysed starch was, for instance, reflected in a high α-glucosidase activity. However, no obvious correlations between specific process parameters and enzyme activities were found.
Original languageEnglish
JournalWater Research
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)579-584
Publication statusPublished - 1992

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