Article

Anaerobic and aerobic metabolism of glycogen-accumulating organisms selected with propionate as the sole carbon source.

Advanced Wastewater Management Centre, AWMC, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, Brisbane 4072, Australia.
Microbiology (Impact Factor: 2.85). 10/2006; 152(Pt 9):2767-78. DOI: 10.1099/mic.0.28065-0
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT In the microbial competition observed in enhanced biological phosphorus removal (EBPR) systems, an undesirable group of micro-organisms known as glycogen-accumulating organisms (GAOs) compete for carbon in the anaerobic period with the desired polyphosphate-accumulating organisms (PAOs). Some studies have suggested that a propionate carbon source provides PAOs with a competitive advantage over GAOs in EBPR systems; however, the metabolism of GAOs with this carbon source has not been previously investigated. In this study, GAOs were enriched in a laboratory-scale bioreactor with propionate as the sole carbon source, in an effort to better understand their biochemical processes. Based on comprehensive solid-, liquid- and gas-phase chemical analytical data from the bioreactor, a metabolic model was proposed for the metabolism of propionate by GAOs. The model adequately described the anaerobic stoichiometry observed through chemical analysis, and can be a valuable tool for further investigation of the competition between PAOs and GAOs, and for the optimization of the EBPR process. A group of Alphaproteobacteria dominated the biomass (96 % of Bacteria) from this bioreactor, while post-fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) chemical staining confirmed that these Alphaproteobacteria produced poly-beta-hydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) anaerobically and utilized them aerobically, demonstrating that they were putative GAOs. Some of the Alphaproteobacteria were related to Defluvicoccus vanus (16 % of Bacteria), but the specific identity of many could not be determined by FISH. Further investigation into the identity of other GAOs is necessary.

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