It has been recognized that aerobic granulation is a process of microbial self-immobilization without the support of carrier (Tay et al., 2001a). Similar to the formation of biofilms and anaerobic granules, aerobic granulation should be a multiple-step process in which a number of physico-chemical and biological factors should be involved. According to the information available for the formation of biofilm and anaerobic granules, Liu and Tay (2002a) proposed a generic four-step formation process for aerobic granulation.
Step 1: Physical movement to initiate bacterium-to-bacterium contact by following forces
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