Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 73, Issue 6, pp 1463–1469 | Cite as

Distribution of extracellular polymeric substances in aerobic granules

Environmental Biotechnology


Extracellular matrix provides an architectural structure and mechanical stability for aerobic granules. Distributions of cells and extracellular polymeric substances (EPS), including proteins, α- and β-d-glucopyranose polysaccharides, in acetate-fed granules and phenol-fed granules were probed using a novel quadruple staining scheme. In acetate-fed granules, protein and β-d-glucopyranose polysaccharides formed the core, whereas, the cells and α-d-glucopyranose polysaccharides accumulated in the granule outer layers. Based on these experimental findings, this study indicated that different conclusions can be obtained regarding EPS distributions when granules were stained differently. The core of phenol-fed granules, conversely, was formed principally by proteins; whereas, the cells and α- and β-d-glucopyranose polysaccharides were accumulated at an outer filamentous layer. Using a series of confocal laser scanning microscope (CLSM) images whose threshold values were determined via Otsu’s scheme, the three-dimensional distributions of cells and EPS were produced using a polygonal surface model. Structural information extracted can be applied in further development of comprehensive granule models.


Aerobic granule EPS Staining Structure Model 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Chemical EngineeringNational Taiwan UniversityTaipeiTaiwan
  2. 2.Environmental Engineering Research Centre, School of Civil and Environmental EngineeringNanyang Technological UniversitySingaporeSingapore

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