A Kubota™ submerged membrane bio-reactor was applied to treat wastewater from a sugar manufacturing industry. To achieve optimal results, fundamental and extended understanding of the microbiology is important. Fluorescence in situ hybridization was used to evaluate the microbial community present. The majority of cells visualized in the sludge flocs by staining with the DNA fluorochrome DAPI, hybridized strongly with a bacterial probe. Probes specific for the alpha-, beta-, and gamma-subclasses of proteobacteria and high G + C Gram positive bacteria were used to characterize the community structures by in situ hybridization. Sampling was carried out over 12 weeks and samples were fixed with 4% paraformaldehyde for gram positive organisms and ice cold ethanol for gram negative organisms. The activated sludge population usually constitutes about 80 to 90% of proteobacteria. However, in this study it was found that a relatively small amount of proteobacteria was present within the system. No positive hybridization signal was observed with any of the applied eubacterial family- level probes.

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