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The application of different methods for indirect microbial development assessment in pilot scale drinking water biofilters


[ 1 ] Instytut Inżynierii Środowiska i Instalacji Budowlanych, Wydział Inżynierii Środowiska i Energetyki, Politechnika Poznańska | [ D ] phd student | [ P ] employee

Scientific discipline (Law 2.0)

[2.10] Environmental engineering, mining and energy

Year of publication


Published in

Archives of Environmental Protection

Journal year: 2021 | Journal volume: vol. 47 | Journal number: no. 3

Article type

scientific article

Publication language


  • biofilm
  • drinking water treatment
  • pilot scale
  • microbiological activity
  • biological activated carbon filters
  • BAC
  • identification of microorganisms

EN The biofiltration process in the biologically activated carbon filters (BAC) is one of advanced methods of water treatment. It enables efficient elimination of dissolved organic matter and some inorganic pollutants. The production of high-quality drinking water requires an appropriate method of filter work control based on biofilm growth assessment. The first aim of the study was to assess the microbial development in beds of two BAC filters with the use of various methods. The second aim was to compare the obtained results and indicate the method which could support filter operators during routine control of biofiltration process. The study was carried out in a pilot scale on models of BAC filters during two filter runs. The analysis of microorganisms was performed in water samples collected from different depths of the filter beds with the use of culture method (HPC), metabolic activity assay (with the FDA), epifluorescence microscopy – total cell count method (TCC) and biochemical method (system Vitek 2 Compact). No statistical correlation between HPC and metabolic activity assay was noted. Total bacteria number determined with the use of TCC was approx. 100–900 times higher than in the HPC method. The biochemical tests revealed the presence of several Gram-negative species. The comparison of the applied methods shows that microbial activity assay is the most useful, fast and low-cost method which may be applied additionally to the HPC method at standard water treatment plant laboratory.

Pages (from - to)

37 - 49




License type

CC BY-SA (attribution - share alike)

Open Access Mode

open journal

Open Access Text Version

final published version

Date of Open Access to the publication

at the time of publication

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