Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 42, Issue 2–3, pp 457–462 | Cite as

Extracellular polymers in granular sludge from different upflow anaerobic sludge blanket (UASB) reactors

  • Schmidt J. E. E. 
  • B. K. Ahring
Original Paper


Thermal extraction was used to quantify extracellular polymers (ECP) in granules from anaerobic upflow reactors. The optimal time for extraction was determined as the time needed before the intracellular material gives a significant contribution to the extracted extracellular material due to cell lysis. ECP contents of 41 to 92 mg · g−1 volatile suspended solids of granules were found depending on the type of granular sludge examined. The content of polysaccharides, protein and lipids in the extracted ECP was quantified. Furthermore, the different methyl esters of the lipids were determined and quantified. Lower amounts of polysaccharides and proteins were found in the extracellular material from granules grown on methanogenic and acetogenic substrates compared to granules grown on more complex substrates. In contrast, the lipid content was lower on complex substrates. Changing the feed of an upflow anaerobic sludge blanket reactor from a sugar-containing waste-water to a synthetic waste-water containing acetate, propionate and butyrate resulted in a decrease in both the protein and polysaccharide content and an increase in the lipid content of the extracellular material. Furthermore, the amount of protein and polysaccharides in the ECP found under mesophilic conditions was significantly higher than under thermophilic conditions, while the lipid content was lower.


Sludge Polysaccharide Lipid Content Butyrate Granular Sludge 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Schmidt J. E. E. 
    • 1
  • B. K. Ahring
    • 1
  1. 1.The Anaerobic Microbiology/Biotechnology Research Group, Department of BiotechnologyThe Technical University of DenmarkLyngbyDenmark

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