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According to the relationship among microbial activity, quorum sensing (QS) and structural stability of aerobic granular sludge, the mechanism of QS regulation for microbial activity and granular stability was investigated in AGS process. Results showed that ATP content decreased sharply from 1.8 μmol/gVSS of stable granules to 0.8 μmol/gVSS of disintegrating granules, and the relative abundance of QS-activity microbes, Rhodobacter spp. and Xanthomonadaceae decreased in initially unstable granules compared with stable granules. The main AHLs were detected in this study, and C8-HSL, 3OHC8-HSL and 3OHC12-HSL decreased significantly when structure of granules changed from stability to disintegration. Accompanying with the decrease of AHLs level, the extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) content in initially unstable granules decreased sharply from 226.8 to 163.6 mg/gVSS with the ratio of extracellular protein to exopolysaccharide (PN/PS) decreasing from 3.6 to 2.2, despite EPS-secretion microbes enriched. The effect of QS on microbial activity was proved by AHL add-back study, results indicated that ATP and EPS content in sludge increased significantly (p < 0.05) with AHLs added, but EPS production was limited when ATP synthesis was disrupted. It was concluded that the AHLs-based QS favored the granular stability via the enhancement of ATP synthesis in microbes. This study provides a new perspective for QS regulation in aerobic granular sludge system, because the ATP regulated by QS could be the energy currency for cellular metabolism, such as nutrient removal, degradation of emerging pollutants, microbial growth and other aspects.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: The Science of the total environment
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