“Protein” Measurement in Biological Wastewater Treatment Systems: A Critical Evaluation
Stuckey, David C.
Date of Issue2016
School of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Nanyang Environment and Water Research Institute
Five commercially available assay kits were tested on the same protein sample with the addition of 17 different types of interfering substances typically found in the biological wastewater treatment, and a comparison of the use of these assays with 22 different protein and peptide samples is also presented. It was shown that a wide variety of substances can interfere dramatically with these assays; the metachromatic response was also clearly influenced by different proteinaceous material. Measurement of the "protein" content in the effluent of an anaerobic membrane bioreactor was then carried out using these assay methods. Quantitative results of the "protein" concentration in the different effluent samples, with or without spiked additions of Bovine Serum Albumin (BSA), showed considerable disagreement. We concluded that the "protein" measured in wastewater samples using standard colorimetric assays often shows false positive results and has little correlation to their real value. A new analytical method needs to be developed in order to gain greater insight into the biological transformations occurring in anaerobic digestion, and how soluble microbial products (SMPs) are produced.
Civil and Environmental Engineering
Environmental Science & Technology
© 2016 American Chemical Society. This is the author created version of a work that has been peer reviewed and accepted for publication by Environmental Science & Technology, American Chemical Society. It incorporates referee’s comments but changes resulting from the publishing process, such as copyediting, structural formatting, may not be reflected in this document. The published version is available at: [http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.5b05261].