An activated sludge was cultivated on a mixture of several soluble substrates (acetate, ethanol, glucose, glutamic acid, peptone, Tween 80, starch, yeast extract) in an anoxic/aerobic SBR. Highly dynamic conditions in the SBR (feast famine regime) caused fast removal of most COD in the anoxic phase (in particular acetate, ethanol, glutamic acid and glucose were totally removed) and relevant contribution of storage. In spite of that, filament abundance was always high, as is typical of bulking sludges. Filaments which developed in the reactor were characterized on a morphological basis and on the basis of their ability to grow and to store polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs). Three main filaments prevailed in the biocenosis, whose relative abundance was varyng with time: Nostocoida limicola II, (two different morphological types), Haliscomenobacter hydrossis and an unidentified one. It was found that maximum growth rate was higher for flocformers than for filaments on each of the tested substrates. Epifluorescence showed that storage ability was more widespread among flocformers than in the filaments. Only one type of Nostocoida limicola II was able to store PHAs. The obtained data show that aerobic growth on the little residual fraction of COD from the anoxic phase was enough to support high abundance of filamentous microorganisms.

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