Microbial immigration in wastewater treatment systems: analytical considerations and process implications

Dominic Frigon, George Wells

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Microbial immigration from sewers to wastewater treatment systems is attracting increasing attention for understanding community assembly mechanisms, and improving process modeling and operation. While there is no consensus on approaches to analyze immigration, we suggest to classify them as relevant to either rare (non-observable) diffusive immigration or to time-continuous high-rate mass flow immigration (i.e. mass effects). When analyzed by a mass flow approach, heterotrophs appear to be strongly influenced by deterministic selection, suggesting that the heterotrophs should be subdivided into several functional guilds when assessing their assembly mechanisms. Conversely, nitrifiers appear to transfer neutrally from sewer to activated sludge, and this immigration can restore full nitrification in otherwise non-nitrifying reactors. With further refinement, these findings could be included in predictive process models with various objectives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)151-159
Number of pages9
JournalCurrent Opinion in Biotechnology
StatePublished - Jun 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomedical Engineering


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