Biofilms sampled from sewers discharging domestic and trade wastewater, respectively, were characterized by determining the population densities of different groups of heterotrophic bacteria as well as by measuring their metabolic activities. Population densities of heterotrophic saprophytes, of proteolytic, amylolytic, and lipolytic bacteria as well as of ammonifying, nitrate reducing and anaerobic bacteria were determined on solid media and by MPN-tests. Metabolic activity was assessed by measuring enzyme activity of esterase, L-alanine-aminopeptidase, phosphatase, as well as of α- and β-glucosidase. Both biofilms revealed high population densities of bacteria from several metabolic groups as well as high enzyme activities. Their heterotrophic activity is in the range of or even higher than that found in high load activated sludges. The high activity of the bacterial biocenosis proves its resistance against high concentrations of chromium and nickel.

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