Polyphosphate-accumulating microorganisms (PAOs) are important in enhanced biological phosphorus (P) removal. Considerable effort has been devoted to understanding the biochemical nature of enhanced biological phosphorus removal (EBPR) and it has been shown that intracellular polymer storage plays an important role in PAO's metabolism. The storage capacity of PAOs gives them a competitive advantage over other microorganisms present that are not able to accumulate internal reserves. Intracellular polymers stored by PAOs include polyphosphate (poly-P), polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) and glycogen. Staining procedures for qualitative visualization of polymers by optical microscopy and combinations of these procedures with molecular tools for in situ identification are described here. The strengths and weaknesses of widely used polymer quantification methods that require destruction of samples, are also discussed. Finally, the potential of in vivo nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy for on-line measurement of intracellular reserves is reported.
- Polyphosphate accumulating bacteria