Zoogloeal growth or viscous floc is the rapid and undesired proliferation of floc-forming bacteria such as Zoogloea ramigera. Zoogloeal growth may appear in the dendritic or "finger-like" pattern (Figure 20.7) or in the amorphous or globular pattern (Figure 20.8). Zoogloeal growth is associated with the production of large quantities of insoluble gelatinous material (Figure 20.9) that entraps air and gas bubbles. The entrapment of air and gas bubbles results in the production of billowy white foam.
The occurrence of Zoogloeal growth is due to high MCRT, long HRT, nutrient deficiency, organic acids, and significant changes in F/M. Zoogloeal growth and its foam can be controlled by (1) regulating the operational conditions responsible for its proliferation or (2) exposing the growth to anoxic periods.
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