The extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) extracted from three granular and one flocculant anaerobic sludges were characterised by size exclusion chromatography (SEC) using two serially linked chromatographic columns in order to obtain more detailed chromatograms. A Superdex peptide 10/300 GL (0.1-7 kDa) and Superdex 20010/300GL (10-600 kDa) from Amersham Biosciences were used in series with a mobile phase at pH 7 with an ionic strength of 0.223 M (phosphate buffer 50 mM and NaCl 150 mM). A part of the EPS molecules displays hydrophobic and/or ionic interactions with the column packing. Interactions could be modified by changing the mobile phase ionic strength or polarity (addition of acetonitrile). The detection wavelength (210 or 280 nm) affects strongly the EPS chromatogram. For a sludge originating from the same type of biofilms (i.e., anaerobic granules), the differences in EPS fingerprints are mainly due to differences in the absorbance of the chromatographic peaks, linked to EPS molecules content and composition. The EPS fingerprint changes significantly when the EPS originate from another type of anaerobic sludges. In addition, EPS fingerprints were affected by the extraction method used (centrifugation only; heat and centrifugation or cationic exchange resin and centrifugation). This phenomenon was observed mainly for the largest and smallest molecules and molecules which display interactions with column packing.
- extraction methods
- part i