Electrodialytic treatment of sewage sludge: influence on microbiological community

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This study aimed to evaluate the changes in microbiological communities present in sewage sludge (SS) when subjected to an electric field. The establishment of these relations is important to design and optimize an electrotechnology that not only promotes a direct degradation of the emerging organic contaminants, through electrodegradation, but also stimulates their biodegradation. Different current intensities were used continuously or by steps, in a two compartment electrodialytic (ED) cell. Samples collected between May and July of 2015 were analysed, prior to ED treatment, and the 35 Taxa identified were divided in 12 groups. Initial samples, collected on May, were mainly constituted by stalked ciliates (86%), followed by shelled amoebae (8%), whereas the samples collected between June and July presented higher number of shelled amoebae, between 52 and 92%. Epistylis, Vorticella and Arcella gibbosa were the most frequent protozoa identified. Samples richness (R) was between 7 and 14, Simpson’s biodiversity index (D) between 0.45 and 0.69, and evenness between 0.42 and 0.65. At the end of the ED experiments, a decrease in the number of identified Taxa and individuals was observed and, consequently, SS biodiversity also decreased. This decline was more pronounced in the ED experiments conducted with currents above 50 mA (0.10 mA cm−2). In terms of abundance, the final SS was mainly constituted by shelled amoebae that showed to be the most resistant to the conditions within the ED cell. The obtained results showed that the studied conditions within the ED cell were not appropriate to the microbiological communities, which influenced the final SS quality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1103-1112
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Science and Technology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2018


  • Biodiversity index
  • Direct current
  • Electrotechnologies
  • Metazoa
  • Protozoa


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