Enrichment and characterization of a psychrophilic ‘Candidatus Accumulibacter phosphatis’ culture

W. D. Tian*, C. Ma, Y. M. Lin, L. Welles, C. Lopez-Vazquez, M. C.M. van Loosdrecht

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Enhanced Biological phosphorous removal (EBPR) processes, often operated at low temperatures, are utilised world-wide, but currently little is known regarding enrichment cultures and the characteristics of active organisms (“Candidatus Accumulibacter phosphatis” (Accumulibacter)) under psychrophilic conditions. This study assesses the long-term performance, metabolic activity, microbial community characteristics and sludge morphology in an EBPR community enriched from activated sludge at 10 °C. Long solid retention times (SRT) and low temperatures resulted in the dominance of Accumulibacter type II over type I. Despite changes in the microbial community, P-removal efficiencies did not show obvious differences and although no specific measures were implemented, the enriched Accumulibacter-PAO culture formed stable dense granules. A high level of Alginate-like exopolysaccharides (ALE) were observed, with a large number of Guluronic acid-Guluronic acid (GG) blocks derived from the biomass at 10 °C. This characteristic favors sludge granulation, increasing the mechanical strength of granules formed, which encourages solid-liquid separation and consequently, contributes to the stable operation of EBPR systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)267-275
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Biodeterioration and Biodegradation
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Candidatus Accumulibacter phosphatis
  • EBPR
  • Low temperature
  • Psychrophilic conditions


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