Detecting calamities with DNA techniques

In 2016the Waterschap Rijn en Ijssel (Rhine and Ijssel Water Authority) suffered from inhibited nitrification at one of their treatment plants. The cause: a long-term discharge that was toxic to the nitrifying biomass. As a result ammonium in the sewage water was no longer successfully removed. This prompted us to find out whether the effect of the toxic discharge was visible in the activated sludge.

We characterised the population in the active sludge derived from the treatment a number of times and compared the results with other ‘healthy’ treatment
plants. The first step was to map the nitrifying biomass by performing ORVIdecode NGS-analyses.
In the next step the number of ammonium oxidising bacteria (AOB) and nitrite oxidising bacteria (NOB) were determined with custom made ORVIdetect qPCR analyses.

With this approach it became clear that the sludge from the inhibited treatment differed from other treatment plants: it contained over 30 times less AOB than NOB.

The results not only present opportunities to assess the quality of the sludge from a treatment much faster, but also to detect the source of a discharge more quickly.

For more information contact Aleida de Vos van Steenwijk

Aleida de Vos is a molecular microbiologist. The development and implementation of biological solutions is what motivates her. The method and approach of Orvion are often new to our customers, so it is important to involve people in the process and to enthuse them for the opportunities that lie ahead. No problem is the same and that is why we always look for the most appropriate solution.

Comments are closed