Most of the fundamental processes responsible for enhanced biological phosphorus removal (EBPR) were obtained through laboratory tests under defined conditions with pure or enriched cultures. Acinetobacter sp. was identified as the most important group of bacteria responsible for bio-P removal. Full scale data showed, however, that laboratory results do not match full scale results well enough. There is a lack of data on the effects of sub-optimal process conditions such as inadequate availability of volatile fatty acids (VFA), high nitrate recycle, storm water inflow or low temperatures. In this paper the results of full scale experiments on P-release are presented and compared with theoretical values. Measurements at a full scale Phoredox-system showed a surprisingly low P-release in the anaerobic reactor. Only 4 to 10% of the phosphorus in the activated sludge was released in the bulk liquid. With laboratory batch-tests, a maximum of 20% of the P in the sludge could be released. It is assumed that under the prevailing process conditions either the fraction of Acinetobacter sp. was very small, or bacteria other than Acinetobacter sp. were responsible for the P-removal, or most of the phosphorus was bound chemically but mediated by biological processes.

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