A novel annular gap reactor was designed to create a controlled shear environment in which aerobic granular sludge could be developed. The bacterial and eukaryal community structures during two aerobic granular sludge experiments were tracked using denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE). The first granule cultivation experiment, using an organic loading rate of 1.6 kg/m3d COD, resulted in biomass that was dominated by filamentous bacteria and Zoogloea ramigera colonies. A second experiment with a higher organic loading rate of 6 kg/m3d COD developed a granule-like morphology but was ultimately dominated by filamentous fungi. Species identification via DGGE band purification and DNA sequencing closely matched the observed sludge morphology and behavior.

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