Classification Of Bacteria According To The Roles They Perform

Bacteria at wastewater treatment plants can be classified according to the roles that they perform (Table 4.3). Some bacteria perform positive roles in the treatment of wastewater, while other bacteria perform negative roles that contribute to inefficient treatment of wastewater, increased operational costs, and permit violations. Many bacteria perform positive and negative roles depending upon the operational conditions.

TABLE 4.3 Significant Groups of Wastewater Bacteria

Acetongenic bacteria Coliforms Cyanobacteria Denitrifying bacteria Fecal coliforms

Fermentative (acid-forming) bacteria Filamentous bacteria Floc-forming bacteria Gliding bacteria

Gram-negative aerobic cocci and rods Gram-negative facultative anaerobic rods


alcohols and fatty acids


alcohols and fatty acids

Fermentative (acid-forming) bacteria

simple sugars, organic acids, and amino acids

Hydrolytic bacteria

complex substrates (polysaccharides, lipids, and proteins)

FIGURE 4.1 Role of acetogenic (acetate-forming) bacteria in an anaerobic digester. Acetogenic bacteria perform a critical role in the anaerobic digester. These fermentative bacteria convert alcohols and fatty acids to acetate, the primary substrate for methane-forming bacteria or methanogenesis.

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