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Title: Competitive exclusion as a means to reduce Escherichia coli regrowth in digested sludge
Author: Williams, Tyson
Awarding Body: Cranfield University
Current Institution: Cranfield University
Date of Award: 2014
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In recent years, it has been reported that numbers of Escherichia coli increase significantly following centrifugation of sludge during the treatment process. E. coli is used as an indicator of the microbiological quality of sludge-derived products destined for agricultural recycling and of the efficacy of the sludge treatment processes. The re-growth phenomenon is of concern because of the potential for additional treatment requirement / higher disposal costs and loss of consumer confidence associated with a compliance failure. It is hypothesised that a competitive exclusion treatment could be the solution wherein the digestate be exposed to a ‘probiotic’ or defined mixture of micro-organisms, to effectively out compete or eliminate any resident E. coli remaining following treatment. The competitive exclusion principle as a treatment method has already seen application in various industrial sectors, the most well-known being the poultry industry. In experiments it was determined that an antimicrobial producing organism would be most likely to succeed. From the candidates screened, Lactobacillus reuteri proved the most promising. L. reuteri is a known producer of reuterin in the presence of glycerol and organic acids as a part of its normal metabolic activity. In sludge derived nutrient broth in the presence of glycerol and low pH, L. reuteri addition resulted in a reduction of E. coli to undetectable levels. In sludge cake under the same conditions, L. reuteri was less successful. However the addition of glycerol and L. reuteri to sludge cake restricted E. coli growth to a 2 log increase from the initial concentration of E. coli recorded following pasteurisation (an average of around 1x102 cfu/gDs), in comparison in the positive control a 4 log increase was recorded. From this result the sludge cake could be defined as conventionally treated. It can be concluded that competitive exclusion and L. reuteri show promise as a treatment for reducing E. coli re-growth in sludge cake
Supervisor: Harris, Jim; Tyrrel, S.; Ritz, K. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available