The composition and colloidal properties of extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) from anammox granular sludge were investigated through a complete set of spectroscopic and scattering techniques. To fully characterize EPS, we developed a robust and reproducible extraction/recovery protocol specific for anammox biofilms, based on the change of water affinity under alternated alkaline and acidic conditions, each monitored with Z-potential and dynamic light scattering analysis. This method enabled both extraction as a colloidal suspension and recovery as a solid of large amounts of EPS (0.38 ± 0.04 and 0.21 ± 0.02 g/g, respectively), including for the first time its structural components. The dominance of the proteinaceous fraction was revealed by all methods tested, resulting in the highest protein/carbohydrates ratio reported for biofilms applied in the wastewater sector. The abundance of proteinaceous ordered structures and in particular of cross-β motifs was detected, indicating for the first time the presence of amyloid-like aggregates in anammox EPS, and suggesting the key role of the protein fraction in determining the mechanical properties of the parent biofilm. The robustness and reproducibility of the proposed method fill the current gap towards a reliable full-scale recovery as well as towards an accurate and meaningful investigation of anammox EPS and pave the way for further exploration of their applicative potential thus stimulating the desirable shift from the current wastewater treatment perspective towards biorefinery in a circular economy context.

Extraction, recovery and characterization of structural extracellular polymeric substances from anammox granular sludge

Lotti, Tommaso;Malpei, Francesca
2019

Abstract

The composition and colloidal properties of extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) from anammox granular sludge were investigated through a complete set of spectroscopic and scattering techniques. To fully characterize EPS, we developed a robust and reproducible extraction/recovery protocol specific for anammox biofilms, based on the change of water affinity under alternated alkaline and acidic conditions, each monitored with Z-potential and dynamic light scattering analysis. This method enabled both extraction as a colloidal suspension and recovery as a solid of large amounts of EPS (0.38 ± 0.04 and 0.21 ± 0.02 g/g, respectively), including for the first time its structural components. The dominance of the proteinaceous fraction was revealed by all methods tested, resulting in the highest protein/carbohydrates ratio reported for biofilms applied in the wastewater sector. The abundance of proteinaceous ordered structures and in particular of cross-β motifs was detected, indicating for the first time the presence of amyloid-like aggregates in anammox EPS, and suggesting the key role of the protein fraction in determining the mechanical properties of the parent biofilm. The robustness and reproducibility of the proposed method fill the current gap towards a reliable full-scale recovery as well as towards an accurate and meaningful investigation of anammox EPS and pave the way for further exploration of their applicative potential thus stimulating the desirable shift from the current wastewater treatment perspective towards biorefinery in a circular economy context.
Anammox biofilm; Biorefinery; Circular economy; EPS; Excess sludge; Extracellular polymeric substances; Extraction/recovery; Environmental Engineering; Waste Management and Disposal; Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11311/1078444
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