Pathogen removal in aerobic granular sludge treatment systems

Research output: ThesisDissertation (TU Delft)

17 Downloads (Pure)


This book describes pathogen removal processes in aerobic granular sludge (AGS) wastewater treatment systems. Faecal indicators (E. coli, Enterococci, coliforms and bacteriophages) were tracked in full-scale AGS facilities and compared to parallel activated sludge (CAS) systems. AGS showed similar removals as the more complex CAS configurations. Removal mechanisms investigated in laboratory-scale reactors showed that the AGS morphology contributes to the removal processes. By tracking E. coli and MS2, it was observed that organisms not attached to the granules are predated by protozoa during aeration. 18S RNA gene analyses confirmed the occurrence of bacterivorous organisms (e.g., Epistylis, Vorticella, Rhogostoma) in the system. Particulate material in the feeding stimulated their development, and a protozoa bloom arose when co-treating with (synthetic) faecal sludge (4 % v/v). An overview of the diverse eukaryotic community in laboratory reactors and real-life applications is also provided. The microbial diversity of the influent was different compared to AGS and CAS sludge samples. However, no clear differences were found between them on species level. This study contributes to a better understanding of the mechanisms behind pathogen removals in AGS systems.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Delft University of Technology
  • Brdanovic, D., Supervisor
  • van Loosdrecht, M.C.M., Supervisor
  • Hooijmans, CM, Supervisor, External person
Award date30 Sep 2021
Print ISBNs9781032139487
Publication statusPublished - 2021


This research was conducted under the auspices of the Graduate School for Socio-
Economic and Natural Sciences of the Environment (SENSE)
This thesis was accomplished thanks to the financial support of Instituto Tecnológico de
Costa Rica.


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