REVIEW OF BIODEGRADABLE ORGANIC MATTER DETERMINATION TECHNIQUES
Report No FR0426
P H Jago
The customer will benefit from a better understanding of all the
current procedures that have been reported for the determination of
the biodegradable organic matter in water, and how these procedures
can be applied.
To produce a state of the art review of assimilable organic carbon
(AOC) and biodegradable organic carbon (BDOC) measurement procedures
and their application.
The water industry requires a better understanding of the impact of
novel water treatment processes on biodegradable organic matter
(BOM), and on the implications of BOM on water quality in
distribution. Reliable methods of measurement are therefore req
uired. A review of the literature is required to establish which
method or methods are most reliable and usable in the operational
- The two approaches to the measurement of BOM are fundamentally
- AOC is a measure of the growth potential of a water determined by
measurement of the growth response of bacteria to the nutrients in
- BDOC is a measure of the potential mineralisation of organic
carbon in water that can be achieved by heterotrophic
- Most established procedures are complicated and take at least a
week to produce a result. Much of the progress that has been
reported has been in the simplification of procedures and reduction
of response times.
- Both types of procedure have been reported to successfully monitor
the effects of water treatment processes on BOM.
- Biostability of water has only been defined in terms of AOC at a
concentration of less than 10 - 20 µg l-1. BDOC is limited by the
current sensitivity of TOC analysis of ± 100 µg l-1, which is around
the expected level for biostability.
- The growth of heterotrophic bacteria and coliforms are reported to
be limited at AOC concentrations of less than 50 µg l-1.
- BDOC is best applied to the optimisation of water treatment
processes as it gives a measure of the ultimate DOC removal that can
be achieved biologically.
- AOC is best applied to the measurement of potential growth
response and biostability in distribution.
V RESUME OF CONTENTS
This report has been produced in connection with the Foundation for
Water Research contract on Water Quality in Distribution (F-1702).
The report is a review of current methods for determining the
concentration of biodegradable organic matter in water.
Copies of the Report are available from FWR, price £15.00 less 20% to FWR Members