Vázquez-Rodríguez G.A., Beltrán-Hernández R.I., Coronel-Olivares C. and Rols J.-L. (2011) Standardization of activated sludge for biodegradation tests. Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry 401: 1127-1137. DOI: 10.1007/s00216-011-5212-z
Activated sludges are an inoculum source commonly used in biodegradation studies, as wastewater treatment facilities constitute an entry point to the environment for many chemicals. In this paper, the main issues relating to the use of activated sludge in biodegradability tests are presented. Special attention is also devoted to discussing the factors affecting both the activity of the microbial communities and the test results. After a short survey of the state of the art of microbiology of activated sludge, the paper focuses on the methods used to reduce the variations in the diversity, quality and quantity of these communities. Finally, use of surrogates as reference materials in biodegradability tests is discussed.