The viscosity behaviors of bacterial suspensions or extracellular polymeric substances and their effects on aerobic granular sludge

  • Xilan Yang
  • Tianguang Xu
  • Pei Cao
  • Kai Qiao
  • Lei Wang
  • Tingting Zhao
  • Jianrong ZhuEmail author
Research Article


Although the viscosity behavior of bacteria and extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) in flocculent activated sludge (FAS) and aerobic granular sludge (AGS) has been investigated, no studies have explored the role of viscosity in microbial attachment in pure culture. This study investigated the viscosity behavior of bacteria and EPS. The results showed that bacteria and their EPS exhibited non-Newtonian fluid and shear-thinning behavior. The viscosity of bacteria and EPS was 1.55–3.80 cP and 1.10–2.40 cP, respectively, while the attachment of bacteria (optical density at 600 nm) was 0.1426–3.1015. Bacteria with high attachment secreted EPS with a higher viscosity (2.40 cP), whereas those with weak attachment expressed EPS with a lower viscosity (1.10 cP). Viscosity and microbial attachment or extracellular polysaccharide (PS) content were significantly positively correlated. PS content was the source of bacterial viscosity, and β-polysaccharide played a more important role in viscosity and microbial attachment than α-polysaccharide. Thus, viscosity plays a critical role in microbial attachment, and high viscosity and PS content result in high microbial attachment, which is beneficial to the granulation process of AGS.


Viscosity behavior Aerobic granular sludge Microbial attachment Extracellular polysaccharides Extracellular proteins Amylase 


Funding information

This research project was financed by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 51578069) and Beijing Municipal Science and Technology Commission Project (Z171100000717012).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

11356_2019_6012_MOESM1_ESM.docx (763 kb)
ESM 1 (763 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xilan Yang
    • 1
  • Tianguang Xu
    • 1
  • Pei Cao
    • 1
  • Kai Qiao
    • 1
  • Lei Wang
    • 1
  • Tingting Zhao
    • 1
  • Jianrong Zhu
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.School of EnvironmentBeijing Normal UniversityBeijingChina

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