BackgroundBiological activated sludge process must be functionally stable to continuously remove contaminants while relying upon the activity of complex microbial communities. However the dynamics of these communities are as yet poorly understood. A macroecology metric used to quantify community dynamic is the taxa-time relationship (TTR). Although the TTR of animal and plant species has been well documented, knowledge is still lacking in regard to TTR of microbial communities in activated sludge bioreactors.
Aims1) To characterize the temporal dynamics of bacterial taxa in activated sludge from two bioreactors of different scale and investigate factors affecting such dynamics; 2) to evaluate the TTRs of activated sludge microbial communities in two bioreactors of different scale.
MethodsTemporal variation of bacterial taxa in activated sludge collected from a full- and lab-scale activated sludge bioreactor was monitored over a one-year period using pyrosequencing of 16S rRNA genes. TTR was employed to quantify the bacterial taxa shifts based on the power law equation S?=?cTw.
ResultsThe power law exponent w for the full-scale bioreactor was 0.43 (R2?=?0.970), which is lower than that of the lab-scale bioreactor (w?=?0.55, R2?=?0.971). The exponents for the dominant phyla were generally higher than that of the rare phyla. Canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) result showed that the bacterial community variance was significantly associated with water temperature, influent (biochemical oxygen demand) BOD, bioreactor scale and dissolved oxygen (DO). Variance partitioning analyses suggested that wastewater characteristics had the greatest contribution to the bacterial community variance, explaining 20.3% of the variance of bacterial communities independently, followed by operational parameters (19.9%) and bioreactor scale (3.6%).
ConclusionsResults of this study suggest bacterial community dynamics were likely driven partly by wastewater and operational parameters and provide evidence that the TTR may be a fundamental ecological pattern in macro- and microbial systems.