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Ciliated protozoa community of a combined UASB–activated sludge system in southeastern Brazil

Siqueira-Castro, Isabel Cristina Vidal, Greinert-Goulart, Juliane Araújo, Rossetto, Renato, Guimarães, José Roberto, Franco, Regina Maura Bueno
Environmental science and pollution research international 2016 v.23 no.23 pp. 23804-23814
Cicadidae, Ciliophora, Protozoa, activated sludge, aerobic digestion, anaerobic digestion, denitrification, fauna, indicator species, morphospecies, organic matter, wastewater treatment, Brazil
The aims of the present study were (1) to evaluate the abundance and taxonomic composition of ciliated protozoa in the activated sludge of a full-scale combined anaerobic-aerobic system operating in a tropical country and (2) to study the relationship between the effluent quality, the physicochemical variables, and the ciliates present in the operating system. The total ciliate fauna of the activated sludge of the Piçarrão Wastewater Treatment Plant (Piçarrão WWTP) was composed of 36 morphospecies belonging to 33 genera. These included 21 species observed in the activated sludge samples on the day of collection and 15 species found in cultures. The activated sludge of the Piçarrão WWTP contained a diversified ciliate community composed mainly of indicator organisms. The most frequently occurring morphospecies were Aspidisca cicada, Vorticella spp., Gastronauta aloisi, Acineria uncinata, and Epistylis plicatilis complex. These results showed that satisfactory operating conditions prevailed at the Piçarrão WWTP. In the combined UASB–activated sludge system, the presence of Aspidisca cicada suggests the occurrence of denitrification in the process while the presence of Acineria uncinata and G. alosi indicates the removal of carbonaceous organic matter.