JWARP  Vol.8 No.9 , August 2016
Microbial Changes in the Fluorescence Character of Natural Organic Matter from a Wastewater Source
Abstract: Natural Organic Matter (NOM) is a mixture of aromatic and aliphatic organic compounds of natural origin in any type of aquatic system. Human activities impact the constituents of NOM, from its production to its fate, particularly in the treatment of domestic waste waters. In this work, the impact of microorganisms isolated from a Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP) was investigated to determine the fate of NOM fractions in raw sewage, using fluorescence spectroscopy. Wastewater samples were taken at three different times from a WWTP, and incubated for 4 days under two treatments: 1) “raw sewage”, and 2) “spiked”, i.e., the same raw sewage, spiked with bacteria previously isolated from the WWTP. The incubated waters were analyzed by fluorescence spectroscopy, digitally resolved into NOM components: humic- and fulvic-like, and two types of protein-like, i.e., tryptophan- and tyrosine-like, using a Parallel Factor Analysis routine (PARAFAC). The results demonstrate that the “spiked” samples showed the largest changes with incubation time. The signals of the tryptophan- and tyrosine-like components decreased, suggesting a net microbial digestion of proteinaceous material. In contrast, the fulvic-like signals, and to some extent, the humic-like signals increased, suggesting the production of the associated molecular materials during the incubation period. This study provides direct evidence of human impact on the make-up of NOM: the cultures of microbes found at a WWTP consume the proteinaceous material, whereas humic-like and fulvic-like materials are produced.
Cite this paper: Riopel, R. , Siemann, S. and Caron, F. (2016) Microbial Changes in the Fluorescence Character of Natural Organic Matter from a Wastewater Source. Journal of Water Resource and Protection, 8, 873-883. doi: 10.4236/jwarp.2016.89072.

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