A study was conducted on filamentous bacteria implicated in bulking and foaming problems in activated sludge process of sewage treatment plant in Dubai, United Arab Emirates over a period of six months. To determine morphological characteristics of diverse filaments, foam and mixed liquor samples were collected and studied using various simple and differential staining techniques. Fluorescent in situ hybridization analysis was carried out in mixed liquor samples with nocardioform group specific probes using VIT kit (Vermicon Identification Technology, Vermicon, Munich). The dominant filamentous bacteria identified from mixed liquor and foam samples included: A long branched form of Gram varibale nocardioform actinomycetes species, Thiothrix, Eikelboom Type 021N, Sphaerotilus natans, Beggiatoa and Nostocoida limicola type I. Occasionally attached growth forms of Eikelboom type 0041/0675 like filaments were observed in mixed liquor and foam samples especially during warm weather. All filamentous bacteria identified were found in both the samples throughout the study period. FISH analysis successfully identified filamentous and non-filamentous morphotypes of nocardioform group members. It is concluded that specific filamentous bacterial population in mixed liquor and foaming activated sludge was constant and not dependent on variable wastewater characteristics.

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