The phenomenon of anoxic phosphate uptake with simultaneous denitrification was studied. For this purpose kinetic batch tests have been carried out by using the activated sludge samples from three modifications of nutrient removal activated sludge systems: two based on an anaerobic-anoxic-oxic (A2/O) system and a third on an anaerobic-oxic (A/O) system.
The results showed significant differences in anoxic phosphate uptake rate between activated sludge which was alternatively exposed to anoxic conditions and activated sludge from the A/O arrangement. These differences were also accompanied by different denitrification rates. Simultaneously with batch experiments the microscopic observation of activated sludge samples was carried out. Neisser and Gram stained samples showed clear differences in shape, size and distribution of polyphosphate accumulating bacteria between A2/O and A/O Processes. Moreover, experiments performed using genetic probes confirmed the differences in microbiological composition of activated sludge samples from different nutrient removal system arrangements.