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Toxic influence of silver and uranium salts on activated sludge of wastewater treatment plants and synthetic activated sludge associates modeled on its pure cultures

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Toxic impact of silver and uranium salts on activated sludge of wastewater treatment facilities has been studied. Some dominating cultures (an active nitrogen fixer Agrobacterium tumifaciens (A.t) and micromyces such as Fusarium nivale, Fusarium oxysporum, and Penicillium glabrum) have been isolated and identified as a result of selection of the activated sludge microorganisms being steadiest under stressful conditions. For these cultures, the lethal doses of silver amounted 1, 600, 50, and 300 µg/l and the lethal doses of uranium were 120, 1,500, 1,000, and 1,000 mg/l, respectively. A.tumifaciens is shown to be more sensitive to heavy metals than micromyces. Synthetic granular activated sludge was formed on the basis of three cultures of the isolated micromyces steadiest against stress. Its granules were much more resistant to silver than the whole native activated sludge was. The concentration of silver causing 50 % inhibition of synthetic granular activated sludge growth reached 160–170 μg/l as far as for the native activated sludge it came only to 100–110 μg/l.

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Agrobacterium tumifaciens


Bacterial isolate


Colony-forming units


Oven-dry weight


Fusarium nivale


Fusarium oxysporum


Penicillium glabrum


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Correspondence to Sergei V. Kalenov.

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Tyupa, D.V., Kalenov, S.V., Skladnev, D.A. et al. Toxic influence of silver and uranium salts on activated sludge of wastewater treatment plants and synthetic activated sludge associates modeled on its pure cultures. Bioprocess Biosyst Eng 38, 125–135 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00449-014-1250-1

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  • Activated sludge
  • Biological wastewater treatment
  • Heavy metal bioremediation
  • Silver toxicity
  • Uranium toxicity
  • Metal resistant microorganisms
  • Synthetic sludge