High Level Microscopic Examination: This deep diving tool is to be considered as a high resolution CT-scan of your Activated Sludge, and gives invaluable information about the strengths and weaknesses of your activated sludge and highlights the potential causes for actual problems or future risks.   With high level microscopy, one literally sees what is wrong/good about your activated sludge: viz.:  the composition, the architecture, the physiological status and the health of it, e.g.:

  • Presence of  obnoxious Filamentous Bacteria (e.g.: Nocardia (Gordona), Microthrix parvicella, Thiotrix, Type 021N, Type 0041/0675, Nostocoida limicola , etc.): the type, location, activity and abundance of these
  • Floc size and floc morphology (open, weak, diffuse flocs versus: compact, dense, strong large flocs)
  • Interstitial fraction: amount, outlook, type and composition
  • Specific microbial groups (e.g.: Nitrifying Bacteria, Zoogloea  spp.-like bacteria, Poly-P bactria, and others)
  • Indicative Microfauna; Flagellates, Amoeba, Ciliates, Rotifers, Suctorians, Nematoda, etc…
  • Non-biological  matter (several precipitates, FOG, etc.)
  • …..


With Specific Staining techniques we can dive even deeper, yielding important information on the physiological status and the activity (e.g.: being alive or dead) of the different activated sludge components:

  • Gram staining (cfr.: foam and scum problems)
  • Neisser-Staining (Poly-P)
  • PHB-Staining (intracellular PHB, i.e.: Carbonaceous reserve material)
  • Live-dead staining (e.g. in toxicity evaluation, chlorination, accidents…)
  • EPS-staining (Carbon Black back stain)
  • Other Epifluorescent techniques
  • FISH (Fluorescent In Situ Hybridisation)


You can request an examination by filling in the form in the right side pane. After request  and approval, activated sludge samples can be sent to AquaICS for off-site microscopic examination (see download section for the procedure on sending samples). 


    Live/Dead stain Zoogloea spp.                    Filamentous bacteria                                      EPS

Need Advice ?

If you own a specific WWT problem or, if you have a pressing question; then do start a conversation with us and get some unbiased and free advice!

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