Using anaerobic/aerobic sequencing batch reactors (SBRs) it was found that pre-fermentation of influent glucose resulted in a microbial population capable of enhanced biological phosphorus removal (EBPR). Batch tests indicated the C1-C5 carboxylic acids, except propionate, typically improved phosphorus removal. Branched molecules were superior to their linear isomers. The C1-C5 alcohols did not affect removal. Glucose, propionate, and an amino-acid rich substrate were detrimental. Using NMR spectroscopy it was observed that intracellular forms and locations of phosphorus did not change regardless of the substrate received. Polyphosphate (polyP) was present throughout the cells at the end of aerobiosis. It then degraded to inorganic phosphate via a zero-order enzymatic reaction concentrated at the cell membrane. An anaerobic/aerobic SBR receiving starch, rather than glucose fermentation products, showed only marginal EBPR and did not respond to carboxylic acids or other substrates in batch tests. Pseudomonas and Bacillus were numerous in the glucose system but were not isolated from the starch system. Aeromonas were dominant in the starch system. Although the glucose system showed better phosphorus removal than the starch system, it also showed greater variability. Phosphorus removal varied in a chaotic, but bounded, manner, probably due to population dynamics.

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