Correlation of community dynamics and process parameters as a tool for the prediction of the stability of wastewater treatment.
ABSTRACT Wastewater treatment often suffers from instabilities and the failure of specific functions such as biological phosphorus removal by polyphosphate accumulating organisms. Since most of the microorganisms involved in water clarification are unknown it is challenging to operate the process accounting for the permanent varying abiotic parameters and the complex composition and unrevealed metabolic capacity of a wastewater microbial community. Fulfilling the demands for water quality irrespective of substrate inflow conditions may emit severe problems if the limited management resources of municipal wastewater treatment plants are regarded. We used flow cytometric analyses of cellular DNA and polyphosphate to create patterns mirroring dynamics in community structure. These patterns were resolved in up to 15 subclusters, the presence and abundances of which correlated with abiotic data. The study used biostatistics to determine the kind and strength of the correlation. Samples investigated were obtained from a primary clarifier and two activated sludge basins. The stability of microbial community structure was found to be high in the basins and low in the primary clarifier. Despite major abiotic changes certain subcommunities were dominantly present (up to 80% stability), whereas others emerged only sporadically (down to 3% stability, both according to equivalence testing). Additionally, subcommunities of diagnostic value were detected showing positive correlation with substrate influxes. For instance blackwater (r(s) = 0.5) and brewery inflow (both r(s) = 0.6) were mirrored by increases in cell abundances in subclusters 1 and 6 as well as 4 and 8, respectively. Phosphate accumulation was obviously positively correlated with nitrate (r(s) = 0.4) and the presence of denitrifying organisms (Rhodacyclaceae). Various other correlations between community structure and abiotic parameters were apparent. The bacterial composition of certain subcommunities was determined by cell sorting and phylogenetic tools like T-RFLP. In essence, we developed a monitoring tool which is quick, cheap and causal in its interpretation. It will make laborious PCR based technique less obligatory as it allows reliable process monitoring and control in wastewater treatment plants.
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ABSTRACT: Enhanced biological phosphorus removal (EBPR) from wastewater can be more-or-less practically achieved but the microbiological and biochemical components are not completely understood. EBPR involves cycling microbial biomass and influent wastewater through anaerobic and aerobic zones to achieve a selection of microorganisms with high capacity to accumulate polyphosphate intracellularly in the aerobic period. Biochemical or metabolic modelling of the process has been used to explain the types of carbon and phosphorus transformations in sludge biomass. There are essentially two broad-groupings of microorganisms involved in EBPR. They are polyphosphate accumulating organisms (PAOs) and their supposed carbon-competitors called glycogen accumulating organisms (GAOs). The morphological appearance of microorganisms in EBPR sludges has attracted attention. For example, GAOs as tetrad-arranged cocci and clusters of coccobacillus-shaped PAOs have been much commented upon and the use of simple cellular staining methods has contributed to EBPR knowledge. Acinetobacter and other bacteria were regularly isolated in pure culture from EBPR sludges and were initially thought to be PAOs. However, when contemporary molecular microbial ecology methods in concert with detailed process performance data and simple intracellular polymer staining methods were used, a betaproteobacteria called 'Candidatus Accumulibacter phosphatis' was confirmed as a PAO and organisms from a novel gammaproteobacteria lineage were GAOs. To preclude making the mistakes of previous researchers, it is recommended that the sludge 'biography' be well understood--i.e. details of phenotype (process performance and biochemistry) and microbial community structure should be linked.Antonie van Leeuwenhoek 09/2002; 81(1-4):681-91. · 2.07 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Wastewater treatment is a process of increasing importance in a world with an ever growing human population. Today, most wastewater treatment processes make use of the natural self-purification capacity of aquatic environments which is the result of the presence and action of microbial communities. Consequently, wastewater treatment facilities are designed to maintain high densities and activities of those microorganisms that satisfy the various purification demands. The performance, at least of large plants, has to be constantly monitored and is subject to strict regulation. Nevertheless, malfunctions resulting in decreased purification efficacy are frequent. This has, over the decades, prompted many microbiologists to compare the structure, dynamics and function of these ‘good’ or ‘bad’, but always complex, microbial communities. Part of these studies was targeted to a basic understanding of the various processes, another part, however, deals with the monitoring of community structure as a means to direct the plant operation towards higher elimination rates and overall stability. Even though the last decade has seen a molecular revolution in microbiology, the standard methods for monitoring wastewater treatment plants still rely on the tools available to the researcher at the beginning of this century, the microscope and agar plates. It is the goal of this MiniReview to compare the potential of the newly available molecular methods with the old monitoring techniques.FEMS Microbiology Ecology 01/2006; 25(3):205 - 215. · 3.56 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The diversity and dynamics of a bacterial community extracted from an exploited oil field with high natural soil salinity near Comodoro Rivadavia in Patagonia (Argentina) were investigated. Community shifts during long-term incubation with diesel fuel at four salinities between 0 and 20% NaCl were monitored by single-strand conformation polymorphism community fingerprinting of the PCR-amplified V4-V5 region of the 16S rRNA genes. Information obtained by this qualitative approach was extended by flow cytometric analysis to follow quantitatively the dynamics of community structures at different salinities. Dominant and newly developing clusters of individuals visualized via their DNA patterns versus cell sizes were used to identify the subcommunities primarily involved in the degradation process. To determine the most active species, subcommunities were separated physically by high-resolution cell sorting and subsequent phylogenetic identification by 16S rRNA gene sequencing. Reduced salinity favored the dominance of Sphingomonas spp., whereas at elevated salinities, Ralstonia spp. and a number of halophilic genera, including Halomonas, Dietzia, and Alcanivorax, were identified. The combination of cytometric sorting with molecular characterization allowed us to monitor community adaptation and to identify active and proliferating subcommunities.Applied and Environmental Microbiology 06/2006; 72(5):3531-42. · 3.68 Impact Factor