Open access poster: Plausible Bioindicators of Biological Nitrogen Removal Process in WWTPs. Application of Multivariate Predictive Models


Backgrounds: The optimization of wastewater treatment involves the search of new tools for the control of the process. Nowadays, restrictions concerning the discharge of certain pollutants, such as nitrogen and phosphorus are imposed, so new configuration of treatment plants have been proposed. Advances in the knowledge of dynamics of the protists and metazoans populations are necessary for the proposal of new biological control tools in activated sludge. Many studies have attempted to relate protists and metazoans with physicochemical and operational variables of wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) in order to reveal possible bioindicators. However, these studies have been mainly descriptive and/or exploratory and environmental interpretation has not been included in them.

Objetives: The aim of this work is the proposal of biological bioindicators of the nitrogen removal process.

Methods: Samples from activated sludge, influent and treated effluent were collected fortnightly during a year, from six bioreactors belonging to four different WWTPs (Spain). Density of protists and metazoans was obteined by direct counting and different staining procedures, using phase contrast microscopy.  Models of environmental interpretation of biological variables, distance-based linear models (DISTLM), as well as the canonical correspondence analysis (CCA), were applied.

Conclusions: The multivariate models constructed with DISTLM and CCA have provided relevant information about the relationships between protists and metazoans and some plant nitrogen compounds, allowing their ecological interpretation and obtaining new bioindicators for monitoring the biological nitrogen removal process in active sludge.


Zornoza, A., Alonso, J.L. and Serrano, S. (2017) Plausible Bioindicators of Biological Nitrogen Removal Process in WWTPs. In: Abstracts of the 7th congress of European microbiologists FEMS 2017, Valencia, Spain, 9-13 July 2017.


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