Fatty acid methyl ester (FAME) technology was evaluated as a monitoring tool for quantification of Gordonia amarae in activated sludge systems. The fatty acid, 19:1 alcohol, which was identified as a unique fatty acid in G. amarae was not only confirmed to be present in foaming plant samples, but the quantity of the signature peak correlated closely with the degree of foaming. Foaming potential experiment provided a range of critical foaming levels that corresponded to G. amarae population. This range of critical Gordonia levels was correlated to the threshold signature FAME amount. Six full-scale wastewater treatment plants were selected based on a survey to participate in our full-scale study to evaluate the potential application of the FAME technique as the Gordonia monitoring tool. Greater amounts of signature FAME were extracted from the mixed liquor samples obtained from treatment plants experiencing Gordonia foaming problems. The amounts of signature FAME correlated well with the conventional filamentous counting technique. These results demonstrated that the relative abundance of the signature FAMEs can be used to quantitatively monitor the abundance of foam-causing microorganism in activated sludge.
- Activated sludge foaming
- Gordonia amarae