Effects of aeration cycles on nitrifying bacterial populations and nitrogen removal in intermittently aerated reactors.
ABSTRACT: The effects of the lengths of aeration and nonaeration periods on nitrogen removal and the nitrifying bacterial community structure were assessed in intermittently aerated (IA) reactors treating digested swine wastewater. Five IA reactors were operated in parallel with different aeration-to-nonaeration time ratios (ANA). Populations of ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB) and nitrite-oxidizing bacteria (NOB) were monitored using 16S rRNA slot blot hybridizations. AOB species diversity was assessed using amoA gene denaturant gradient gel electrophoresis. Nitrosomonas and Nitrosococcus mobilis were the dominant AOB and Nitrospira spp. were the dominant NOB in all reactors, although Nitrosospira and Nitrobacter were also detected at lower levels. Reactors operated with the shortest aeration time (30 min) showed the highest Nitrosospira rRNA levels, and reactors operated with the longest anoxic periods (3 and 4 h) showed the lowest levels of Nitrobacter, compared to the other reactors. Nitrosomonas sp. strain Nm107 was detected in all reactors, regardless of the reactor's performance. Close relatives of Nitrosomonas europaea, Nitrosomonas sp. strain ENI-11, and Nitrosospira multiformis were occasionally detected in all reactors. Biomass fractions of AOB and effluent ammonia concentrations were not significantly different among the reactors. NOB were more sensitive than AOB to long nonaeration periods, as nitrite accumulation and lower total NOB rRNA levels were observed for an ANA of 1 h:4 h. The reactor with the longest nonaeration time of 4 h performed partial nitrification, followed by denitrification via nitrite, whereas the other reactors removed nitrogen through traditional nitrification and denitrification via nitrate. Superior ammonia removal efficiencies were not associated with levels of specific AOB species or with higher AOB species diversity.
Project description:Nitrification in drinking water distribution systems is a common operational problem for many utilities that use chloramines for secondary disinfection. The diversity of ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB) and nitrite-oxidizing bacteria (NOB) in the distribution systems of a pilot-scale chloraminated drinking water treatment system was characterized using terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) analysis and 16S rRNA gene (ribosomal DNA [rDNA]) cloning and sequencing. For ammonia oxidizers, 16S rDNA-targeted T-RFLP indicated the presence of Nitrosomonas in each of the distribution systems, with a considerably smaller peak attributable to Nitrosospira-like AOB. Sequences of AOB amplification products aligned within the Nitrosomonas oligotropha cluster and were closely related to N. oligotropha and Nitrosomonas ureae. The nitrite-oxidizing communities were comprised primarily of Nitrospira, although Nitrobacter was detected in some samples. These results suggest a possible selection of AOB related to N. oligotropha and N. ureae in chloraminated systems and demonstrate the presence of NOB, indicating a biological mechanism for nitrite loss that contributes to a reduction in nitrite-associated chloramine decay.
Project description:Membrane-aerated biofilm reactors performing autotrophic nitrogen removal can be successfully applied to treat concentrated nitrogen streams. However, their process performance is seriously hampered by the growth of nitrite oxidizing bacteria (NOB). In this work we document how sequential aeration can bring the rapid and long-term suppression of NOB and the onset of the activity of anaerobic ammonium oxidizing bacteria (AnAOB). Real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction analyses confirmed that such shift in performance was mirrored by a change in population densities, with a very drastic reduction of the NOB?Nitrospira and Nitrobacter and a 10-fold increase in AnAOB numbers. The study of biofilm sections with relevant 16S rRNA fluorescent probes revealed strongly stratified biofilm structures fostering aerobic ammonium oxidizing bacteria (AOB) in biofilm areas close to the membrane surface (rich in oxygen) and AnAOB in regions neighbouring the liquid phase. Both communities were separated by a transition region potentially populated by denitrifying heterotrophic bacteria. AOB and AnAOB bacterial groups were more abundant and diverse than NOB, and dominated by the r-strategists Nitrosomonas europaea and Ca. Brocadia anammoxidans, respectively. Taken together, the present work presents tools to better engineer, monitor and control the microbial communities that support robust, sustainable and efficient nitrogen removal.
Project description:This study explores nitrogen removal performance, bioelectricity generation, and the response of microbial community in two novel tidal flow constructed wetland-microbial fuel cells (TFCW-MFCs) when treating synthetic wastewater under two different chemical oxygen demand/total nitrogen (COD/TN, or simplified as C/N) ratios (10:1 and 5:1). The results showed that they achieved high and stable COD, NH4 +-N, and TN removal efficiencies. Besides, TN removal rate of TFCW-MFC was increased by 5-10% compared with that of traditional CW-MFC. Molecular biological analysis revealed that during the stabilization period, a low C/N ratio remarkably promoted diversities of ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA) and ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB) in the cathode layer, whereas a high one enhanced the richness of nitrite-oxidizing bacteria (NOB) in each medium; the dominant genera in AOA, AOB, and NOB were Candidatus Nitrosotenuis, Nitrosomonas, and Nitrobacter. Moreover, a high C/N ratio facilitated the growth of Nitrosomonas, while it inhibited the growth of Candidatus Nitrosotenuis. The distribution of microbial community structures in NOB was separated by space rather than time or C/N ratio, except for Nitrobacter. This is caused by the differences of pH, dissolved oxygen (DO), and nitrogen concentration. The response of microbial community characteristics to nitrogen transformations and bioelectricity generation demonstrated that TN concentration is significantly negatively correlated with AOA-shannon, AOA-chao, 16S rRNA V4-V5-shannon, and 16S rRNA V4-V5-chao, particularly due to the crucial functions of Nitrosopumilus, Planctomyces, and Aquicella. Additionally, voltage output was primarily influenced by microorganisms in the genera of Nitrosopumilus, Nitrosospira, Altererythrobacter, Gemmata, and Aquicella. This study not only presents an applicable tool to treat high nitrogen-containing wastewater, but also provides a theoretical basis for the use of TFCW-MFC and the regulation of microbial community in nitrogen removal and electricity production.
Project description:Nitrification plays a crucial role in global nitrogen cycling and treatment processes. However, the relationships between the nitrifier guilds of ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB) and nitrite-oxidizing bacteria (NOB) are still poorly understood, especially in freshwater habitats. This study examined the physiological interactions between the AOB and NOB present in a freshwater aquarium biofilter by culturing them, either together or separately, in a synthetic medium. Metagenomic and 16S rRNA gene sequencing revealed the presence and the draft genomes of Nitrosomonas-like AOB as well as Nitrobacter-like NOB in the cultures, including the first draft genome of Nitrobacter vulgaris. The nitrifiers exhibited different growth rates with different ammonium (NH4+) or nitrite concentrations (50-1,500 ?M) and the growth rates were elevated under a high bicarbonate (HCO3-) concentration. The half-saturation constant (Ks for NH4+), the maximum growth rate (?max), and the lag duration indicated a strong dependence on the synergistic relationships between the two guilds. Overall, the ecophysiological and metagenomic results in this study provided insights into the phylogeny of the key nitrifying players in a freshwater biofilter and showed that interactions between the two nitrifying guilds in a microbial community enhanced nitrification.
Project description:The two-step nitrification process is an integral part of the global nitrogen cycle, and it is accomplished by distinctly different nitrifiers. By combining DNA-based stable isotope probing (SIP) and high-throughput pyrosequencing, we present the molecular evidence for autotrophic growth of ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB), ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA) and nitrite-oxidizing bacteria (NOB) in agricultural soil upon ammonium fertilization. Time-course incubation of SIP microcosms indicated that the amoA genes of AOB was increasingly labeled by (13)CO(2) after incubation for 3, 7 and 28 days during active nitrification, whereas labeling of the AOA amoA gene was detected to a much lesser extent only after a 28-day incubation. Phylogenetic analysis of the (13)C-labeled amoA and 16S rRNA genes revealed that the Nitrosospira cluster 3-like sequences dominate the active AOB community and that active AOA is affiliated with the moderately thermophilic Nitrososphaera gargensis from a hot spring. The higher relative frequency of Nitrospira-like NOB in the (13)C-labeled DNA suggests that it may be more actively involved in nitrite oxidation than Nitrobacter-like NOB. Furthermore, the acetylene inhibition technique showed that (13)CO(2) assimilation by AOB, AOA and NOB occurs only when ammonia oxidation is not blocked, which provides strong hints for the chemolithoautotrophy of nitrifying community in complex soil environments. These results show that the microbial community of AOB and NOB dominates the nitrification process in the agricultural soil tested.
Project description:Typically, nitrification is a two-stage microbial process and is key in wastewater treatment and nutrient recovery from waste streams. Changes in salinity represent a major stress factor that can trigger response mechanisms, impacting the activity and the physiology of bacteria. Despite its pivotal biotechnological role, little information is available on the specific response of nitrifying bacteria to varying levels of salinity. In this study, synthetic communities of ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB Nitrosomonas europaea and/or Nitrosomonas ureae) and nitrite-oxidizing bacteria (NOB Nitrobacter winogradskyi and/or Nitrobacter vulgaris) were tested at 5, 10, and 30 mS cm-1 by adding sodium chloride to the mineral medium (0, 40, and 200 mM NaCl, respectively). Ammonia oxidation activity was less affected by salinity than nitrite oxidation. AOB, on their own or in combination with NOB, showed no significant difference in the ammonia oxidation rate among the three conditions. However, N. winogradskyi improved the absolute ammonia oxidation rate of both N. europaea and N. ureae. N. winogradskyi's nitrite oxidation rate decreased to 42% residual activity upon exposure to 30 mS cm-1, also showing a similar behavior when tested with Nitrosomonas spp. The nitrite oxidation rate of N. vulgaris, as a single species, was not affected when adding sodium chloride up to 30 mS cm-1, however, its activity was completely inhibited when combined with Nitrosomonas spp. in the presence of ammonium/ammonia. The proteomic analysis of a co-culture of N. europaea and N. winogradskyi revealed the production of osmolytes, regulation of cell permeability and an oxidative stress response in N. europaea and an oxidative stress response in N. winogradskyi, as a result of increasing the salt concentration from 5 to 30 mS cm-1. A specific metabolic response observed in N. europaea suggests the role of carbon metabolism in the production of reducing power, possibly to meet the energy demands of the stress response mechanisms, induced by high salinity. For the first time, metabolic modifications and response mechanisms caused by the exposure to salinity were described, serving as a tool toward controllability and predictability of nitrifying systems exposed to salt fluctuations.
Project description:In wastewater treatment plants, nitrifying systems are usually operated with elevated levels of aeration to avoid nitrification failures. This approach contributes significantly to operational costs and the carbon footprint of nitrifying wastewater treatment processes. In this study, we tested the effect of aeration rate on nitrification by correlating ammonia oxidation rates with the structure of the ammonia-oxidizing bacterial (AOB) community and AOB abundance in four parallel continuous-flow reactors operated for 43 days. Two of the reactors were supplied with a constant airflow rate of 0.1 liter/min, while in the other two units the airflow rate was fixed at 4 liters/min. Complete nitrification was achieved in all configurations, though the dissolved oxygen (DO) concentration was only 0.5 ± 0.3 mg/liter in the low-aeration units. The data suggest that efficient performance in the low-DO units resulted from elevated AOB levels in the reactors and/or putative development of a mixotrophic AOB community. Denaturing gel electrophoresis and cloning of AOB 16S rRNA gene fragments followed by sequencing revealed that the AOB community in the low-DO systems was a subset of the community in the high-DO systems. However, in both configurations the dominant species belonged to the Nitrosomonas oligotropha lineage. Overall, the results demonstrated that complete nitrification can be achieved at low aeration in lab-scale reactors. If these findings could be extended to full-scale plants, it would be possible to minimize the operational costs and greenhouse gas emissions without risk of nitrification failure.
Project description:The genomes of many bacteria that participate in nitrogen cycling through the process of nitrification contain putative genes associated with acyl-homoserine lactone (AHL) quorum sensing (QS). AHL QS or bacterial cell-cell signaling is a method of bacterial communication and gene regulation and may be involved in nitrogen oxide fluxes or other important phenotypes in nitrifying bacteria. Here, we carried out a broad survey of AHL production in nitrifying bacteria in three steps. First, we analyzed the evolutionary history of AHL synthase and AHL receptor homologs in sequenced genomes and metagenomes of nitrifying bacteria to identify AHL synthase homologs in ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB) of the genus Nitrosospira and nitrite-oxidizing bacteria (NOB) of the genera Nitrococcus, Nitrobacter, and Nitrospira Next, we screened cultures of both AOB and NOB with uncharacterized AHL synthase genes and AHL synthase-negative nitrifiers by a bioassay. Our results suggest that an AHL synthase gene is required for, but does not guarantee, cell density-dependent AHL production under the conditions tested. Finally, we utilized mass spectrometry to identify the AHLs produced by the AOB Nitrosospira multiformis and Nitrosospira briensis and the NOB Nitrobacter vulgaris and Nitrospira moscoviensis as N-decanoyl-l-homoserine lactone (C10-HSL), N-3-hydroxy-tetradecanoyl-l-homoserine lactone (3-OH-C14-HSL), a monounsaturated AHL (C10:1-HSL), and N-octanoyl-l-homoserine lactone (C8-HSL), respectively. Our survey expands the list of AHL-producing nitrifiers to include a representative of Nitrospira lineage II and suggests that AHL production is widespread in nitrifying bacteria.IMPORTANCE Nitrification, the aerobic oxidation of ammonia to nitrate via nitrite by nitrifying microorganisms, plays an important role in environmental nitrogen cycling from agricultural fertilization to wastewater treatment. The genomes of many nitrifying bacteria contain genes associated with bacterial cell-cell signaling or quorum sensing (QS). QS is a method of bacterial communication and gene regulation that is well studied in bacterial pathogens, but less is known about QS in environmental systems. Our previous work suggested that QS might be involved in the regulation of nitrogen oxide gas production during nitrite metabolism. This study characterized putative QS signals produced by different genera and species of nitrifiers. Our work lays the foundation for future experiments investigating communication between nitrifying bacteria, the purpose of QS in these microorganisms, and the manipulation of QS during nitrification.
Project description:Rice paddy fields are characterized by regular flooding and nitrogen fertilization, but the functional importance of aerobic ammonia oxidizers and nitrite oxidizers under unique agricultural management is poorly understood. In this study, we report the differential contributions of ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA), bacteria (AOB) and nitrite-oxidizing bacteria (NOB) to nitrification in four paddy soils from different geographic regions (Zi-Yang (ZY), Jiang-Du (JD), Lei-Zhou (LZ) and Jia-Xing (JX)) that are representative of the rice ecosystems in China. In urea-amended microcosms, nitrification activity varied greatly with 11.9, 9.46, 3.03 and 1.43??g NO3(-)-N?g(-1) dry weight of soil per day in the ZY, JD, LZ and JX soils, respectively, over the course of a 56-day incubation period. Real-time quantitative PCR of amoA genes and pyrosequencing of 16S rRNA genes revealed significant increases in the AOA population to various extents, suggesting that their relative contributions to ammonia oxidation activity decreased from ZY to JD to LZ. The opposite trend was observed for AOB, and the JX soil stimulated only the AOB populations. DNA-based stable-isotope probing further demonstrated that active AOA numerically outcompeted their bacterial counterparts by 37.0-, 10.5- and 1.91-fold in (13)C-DNA from ZY, JD and LZ soils, respectively, whereas AOB, but not AOA, were labeled in the JX soil during active nitrification. NOB were labeled to a much greater extent than AOA and AOB, and the addition of acetylene completely abolished the assimilation of (13)CO2 by nitrifying populations. Phylogenetic analysis suggested that archaeal ammonia oxidation was predominantly catalyzed by soil fosmid 29i4-related AOA within the soil group 1.1b lineage. Nitrosospira cluster 3-like AOB performed most bacterial ammonia oxidation in the ZY, LZ and JX soils, whereas the majority of the (13)C-AOB in the JD soil was affiliated with the Nitrosomona communis lineage. The (13)C-NOB was overwhelmingly dominated by Nitrospira rather than Nitrobacter. A significant correlation was observed between the active AOA/AOB ratio and the soil oxidation capacity, implying a greater advantage of AOA over AOB under microaerophilic conditions. These results suggest the important roles of soil physiochemical properties in determining the activities of ammonia oxidizers and nitrite oxidizers.
Project description:Nitrification inhibitors (NIs) applied to soil reduce nitrogen fertilizer losses from agr<i>o</i>-ecosystems. NIs that are currently registered for use in agriculture appear to selectively inhibit ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB), while their impact on other nitrifiers is limited or unknown. Ethoxyquin (EQ), a fruit preservative shown to inhibit ammonia-oxidizers (AO) in soil, is rapidly transformed to 2,6-dihydro-2,2,4-trimethyl-6-quinone imine (QI), and 2,4-dimethyl-6-ethoxy-quinoline (EQNL). We compared the inhibitory potential of EQ and its derivatives with that of dicyandiamide (DCD), nitrapyrin (NP), and 3,4-dimethylpyrazole-phosphate (DMPP), NIs that have been used in agricultural settings. The effect of each compound on the growth of AOB (<i>Nitrosomonas europaea, Nitrosospira multiformis</i>), ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA; "<i>Candidatus</i> Nitrosocosmicus franklandus," "<i>Candidatus</i> Nitrosotalea sinensis"), and a nitrite-oxidizing bacterium (NOB; <i>Nitrobacter</i> sp. NHB1), all being soil isolates, were determined in liquid culture over a range of concentrations by measuring nitrite production or consumption and qPCR of <i>amoA</i> and <i>nxrB</i> genes, respectively. The degradation of NIs in the liquid cultures was also determined. In all cultures, EQ was transformed to the short-lived QI (major derivative) and the persistent EQNL (minor derivative). They all showed significantly higher inhibition activity of AOA compared to AOB and NOB isolates. QI was the most potent AOA inhibitor (EC<sub>50</sub> = 0.3-0.7 ?M) compared to EQ (EC<sub>50</sub> = 1-1.4 ?M) and EQNL (EC<sub>50</sub> = 26.6-129.5 ?M). The formation and concentration of QI in EQ-amended cultures correlated with the inhibition patterns for all isolates suggesting that it was primarily responsible for inhibition after application of EQ. DCD and DMPP showed greater inhibition of AOB compared to AOA or NOB, with DMPP being more potent (EC<sub>50</sub> = 221.9-248.7 ?M <i>vs</i> EC<sub>50</sub> = 0.6-2.1 ?M). NP was the only NI to which both AOA and AOB were equally sensitive with EC<sub>50s</sub> of 0.8-2.1 and 1.0-6.7 ?M, respectively. Overall, EQ, QI, and NP were the most potent NIs against AOA, NP, and DMPP were the most effective against AOB, while NP, EQ and its derivatives showed the highest activity against the NOB isolate. Our findings benchmark the activity range of known and novel NIs with practical implications for their use in agriculture and the development of NIs with broad or complementary activity against all AO.