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Lipolysis of domestic wastewater in anaerobic reactors operating at low temperatures

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Evangelos Petropoulos, Dr Jan DolfingORCiD, Dr Yongjie Yu, Dr Matthew WadeORCiD, Dr Emma Bowen, Professor Russell DavenportORCiD, Professor Thomas CurtisORCiD



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by Royal Society of Chemistry, 2018.

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Poor breakdown of lipids is a major barrier to the anaerobic treatment of domestic wastewater at low temperatures.Lipids are degraded by extracellular lipases that are produced by, as yet, unknown bacteria. Wewished to know if the poor degradation of lipids at low temperatures is due to a lack of lipase or to a lackof lipase activity. We therefore conducted an assay of the lipase activity in biomass adapted to the treatmentof settled domestic wastewater at 4, 8 and 15 °C and compared this with the activity of the samebiomass at 37 °C. Lipase activity decreased with temperature and was un-measurable at 4 °C. When the lipaseactivity in the biomass was evaluated at 37 °C, the lipase activity was 21.7 ± 14.0% greater in the biomassadapted to 4 °C than in the biomass adapted to 15 °C. We conclude that enzymes are produced atlow temperatures but that the activity at these temperatures is low. Settled and unsettled wastewaters wereused as controls and we were surprised to see lipolytic activity in the unsettled wastewaters at low temperatures.The activity was too high to be accounted for by the presence of biological detergents and we inferthat is caused by bacteria naturally present in domestic wastewater. The presence of lipolytic activity at lowtemperatures was associated with the presence of members of the genera Trichococcus and Devosia, andthe families Caldilineaceae and Bacteroidaceae.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Petropoulos E, Dolfing J, Yu Y, Wade MJ, Bowen EJ, Davenport RJ, Curtis TP

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Environmental Science: Water Research & Technology

Year: 2018

Volume: 4

Issue: 7

Pages: 1002-1013

Print publication date: 01/07/2018

Online publication date: 18/05/2018

Acceptance date: 17/05/2018

Date deposited: 04/07/2018

ISSN (print): 2053-1400

ISSN (electronic): 2053-1419

Publisher: Royal Society of Chemistry


DOI: 10.1039/c8ew00156a


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