Establishment and Evaluation of Advanced Water Treatment Technology Systems Using Functions of Complex Microbial Community

Research Project on Advanced Water Treatment Systems with Complex Microbial Community, Graduate School of Engineering, the University of Tokyo
English / Japanese

International Symposium

@Utilization of Complex Microbial Community for Water Environment Management in the 21st Century, Tokyo, Febrary 5th-7th, 2001.

Previously Held Symposia and Workshops@

International Workshop

Quantitative Microbiology and Risk Assessment --Water Quality Management for Human Health--, Tokyo, March 3rd-4th, 1999.

International symposia

Microbial Community and Functions in Wastewater Treatment Processes , Tokyo, March 10th-11th, 1998.

Establishment and Evaluation of Advanced Water Treatment Technology Systems Using Functions of Complex Microbial Community, Tokyo, Japan, March 6-8, 2000.

International Specialized Conference on Membrane Technology in Environmental Management, Tokyo, Japan, November 1-4, 1999.

(coorganized with IAWQ, JSWE and Env. Sci. Center, UT)

General Introduction of the COE Project

  1. Project Outline
  2. List of Members

1.Project Outline

Water is essential for life. : The issue of "water" is directly related to human life and has been considered both in Western and Eastern, or developing and developed countries to be an important theme affecting the survival of forthcoming generations. Recently, the usage of water has been so complicated that obtaining safe water is getting more and more difficult. Looking around the world, eutrophication - extraordinary growth of algae in lakes or seas - has been revealed to be a serious problem that can be a cross-border problem, as seen in Great Lakes in North America or in the north Sea, the Baltic Sea and the Mediterranean Sea in Europe. As for the safeness of drinking water, substances like carcinogenic compounds or pathogenic viruses, which cannot be removed by traditional water treatment technologies, have been concerned about not only in developing countries but also in developed countries.

Why are advanced water treatment technologies necessary ? : Technologies which enable us to produce desirable safe water are absolutely necessary in order to cope with the present environmental problems which are being complicated and wide-spread. From the view point of environmental protection, water treatment technologies are the necessity for the removal of various pollutants. Development of more advanced technologies are essential to remove micro-pollutants like phosphorus, nitrogen, synthetic chemicals and viruses. Such technologies may be the last measures to ensure the safeness of the water environment.

Complex microbial community - an unknown world with marvelous functions : Biological technologies are the leading fraction of water and wastewater treatment. To develop biological technologies, it is essential to think that functions of a mixed microbial culture (complex microbial community) are not simply the sum of the functions of individual pure cultures, but that some functions should appear only when a certain complex microbial community is established. A good example is the biological phosphate removal process. Phosphate accumulating organisms (PAOs) are believed to be responsible for the removal of phosphate in this process. But no single pure culture of PAO has been isolated so far. The PAOs may perform the phosphate removing function only when a certain environmental conditions are maintained in a complex microbial community. If the complex microbial communities are investigated as a whole, many unique microbial groups with marvelous functions will be coming up in front of us.

Framework of the present research project : The research on complex microbial community has been just started in the field of water and wastewater treatment. The COE project aims to efficiently establish a new frame of advanced technologies for water and wastewater treatment by combining the newly developed microbiology dealing with complex microbial community and the traditional water and wastewater engineering. Various advanced technologies are required for the conservation of the water environment, and many of them should be included within that frame. As the first step, the present project will focus on the following individual research topics :
  • Study on behavior and functions of the microbial community in biological phosphate removal processes.
  • Study on functions of the microbial community and the mechanism of green house gas production in biological nitrogen removal processes.
  • Recovery of valuable substances from wastewater using biomass dominating under unique conditions.
  • Development of membrane bioreactor and study on its biological function.
  • Study on the behavior of pathogenic viruses in water environment or in water treatment processes and evaluation of disinfection methods for water reuse.

Through the international exchange of researchers, the present project aims at promoting the research of biological water and wastewater treatment technologies and at establishing a database for common and important information from the research results in the world. It is expected that these activities facilitate the establishment of a new international research center. The researches on the water and wastewater treatment process based on the complex microbial community have just started. It is needed that the advanced water and wastewater treatment technologies for the modern society should be organized as an established engineering discipline and that a new field of science on the complex microbial community should be created for the above purpose.

2. List of Members

Back to Environmental Engineering Course Index / Last Revised on March 22, 2000.