Potable water treatment
Potable water treatment

This free course is available to start right now. Review the full course description and key learning outcomes and create an account and enrol if you want a free statement of participation.

Free course

Potable water treatment

3.5.4 Fungi

Fungi (e.g. species such as Penicillium which are used for manufacture of antibiotics, and yeast) are generally unicellular non-photosynthetic organisms which can tolerate acid conditions. They are capable of degrading highly complex organic compounds. They utilise much the same food sources as bacteria but they require less nitrogen since their protein content is lower. Fungi play an important role in sewage treatment.

In polluted water, particularly near to a sewage works outfall, a material known as 'sewage fungus' is often found. This is not a single organism but a mixture of different species of bacteria, fungi, algae and protozoa. They form a slimy, furry growth (not unlike plumes of cotton wool) (Figure 15) on the river bed and river bank. The organisms most often seen in sewage fungus are the bacterial species Sphaerotilus natans and Zoogloea ramigera. Other important species are the bacteria Beggiatoa alba and the Flavobacterium spp., the fungi Geotrichum candidum, Leptomitis lacteus, Fusarium aquaductum, the alga Stigeoclonium tenue and the protozoan Carchesium polypinum.

Figure 15
Figure 15 Sewage fungus
T210_1

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has nearly 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to university level study, find out more about the types of qualifications we offer, including our entry level Access courses and Certificates.

Not ready for University study then browse over 900 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus