The acclimatisation of an activated sludge to enhanced biological phosphorus removal conditions was followed after and without bioaugmentation with a low amount of phosphorus-accumulating sludge. Phosphorus removal yields were monitored by conventional analytical methods and microbial communities evolutions were followed by a finger printing molecular technique (PCR-SSCP). While the benefit of the bioaugmentation seems real at the level of the reactor parameters, bioaugmentation speeded up the installation of good and stable phosphorus removal yield, the establishment of the inoculated microbial community in the bioaugmented reactor is still unclear. Both the bioaugmented and the control microbial communities evolved in a similar way to end up with apparently comparable populations. At the time of the experiment, the results suggest that the microbial community inoculated for the bioaugmentation did not establish in the reactor but compensated for phosphorus accumulation until the acclimatisation of an endogenous microbial community arose.

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