Characterization of the Mineral Fraction Associated to Extracellular Polymeric Substances (EPS) in Anaerobic Granular Sludges

P. D'Abzac, F. Bordas, E. Joussein, E. Hullebusch, P.N.L. Lens, G. Guibaud

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The extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) extracted from four anaerobic granular sludges contain an important mineral fraction (20-77% of the EPS dry weight). The composition of the mineral fraction of EPS depends strongly of the extraction method applied and to a lesser extend of the origin of the anaerobic sludge. Centrifugation, sonication, and heating extraction procedures yield a similar mineral composition. However, extraction using a cationic exchange resin (CER) leads to an increase of the Na+ content in the EPS extract because the CER promotes an exchange of divalent and trivalent inorganic elements in the EPS extracts toward Na+. Chemical extraction protocols were also shown to contaminate the EPS extracts by impurities or carry over of the extractant itself (e.g., ethanol). A part of the mineral fraction is bound to the EPS organic matter and structures the EPS matrix in the granules. Scanning electron microscopic analysis (SEM-EDX) showed that in addition, solid particles such as CaCO3 and Ca5OH(PO4)(3) containing various metallic elements (i.e., Al, Fe, Cu, Mn...) are present in the EPS as well. This inorganic fraction, too often neglected in EPS studies, can influence the physicochemical properties of EPS.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)412-418
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • waste-water
  • extraction methods
  • heavy-metals
  • part i
  • removal
  • sulfate
  • reactor
  • mechanisms
  • dynamics
  • sorption


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