A comparative study of the bacterial community in denitrifying and traditional enhanced biological phosphorus removal processes.
ABSTRACT: Denitrifying phosphorus removal is an attractive wastewater treatment process due to its reduced carbon source demand and sludge minimization potential. Two lab-scale sequencing batch reactors (SBRs) were operated in alternating anaerobic-anoxic (A-A) or anaerobic-oxic (A-O) conditions to achieve denitrifying enhanced biological phosphate removal (EBPR) and traditional EBPR. No significant differences were observed in phosphorus removal efficiencies between A-A SBR and A-O SBR, with phosphorus removal rates being 87.9% and 89.0% respectively. The community structures in denitrifying and traditional EBPR processes were evaluated by high-throughput sequencing of the PCR-amplified partial 16S rRNA genes from each sludge. The results obtained showed that the bacterial community was more diverse in A-O sludge than in A-A sludge. Taxonomy and ?-diversity analyses indicated that a significant shift occurred in the dominant microbial community in A-A sludge compared with the seed sludge during the whole acclimation phase, while a slight fluctuation was observed in the abundance of the major taxonomies in A-O sludge. One Dechloromonas-related OTU outside the 4 known Candidatus "Accumulibacter" clades was detected as the main OTU in A-A sludge at the stationary operation, while Candidatus "Accumulibacter" dominated in A-O sludge.
Project description:"Candidatus Accumulibacter" is the dominant polyphosphate-accumulating organism (PAO) in denitrifying phosphorus removal (DPR) systems. In order to investigate the community structure and clade morphotypes of "Candidatus Accumulibacter" in DPR systems through flow cytometry (FCM), denitrifying phosphorus removal of almost 100% using nitrite and nitrate as the electron acceptor was achieved in sequencing batch reactors (SBRs). An optimal method of flow cytometry combined with fluorescence in situ hybridization and SYBR green I staining (FISH-staining-flow cytometry) was developed to quantify PAOs in DPR systems. By setting the width value of FCM, bacterial cells in a sludge sample were divided into three groups in different morphotypes, namely, coccus, coccobacillus, and bacillus. Average percentages that the three different PAO populations accounted for among total bacteria from SBR1 (SBR2) were 42% (45%), 14% (13%), and 4% (2%). FCM showed that the ratios of PAOs to total bacteria in the two reactors were 61% and 59%, and the quantitative PCR (qPCR) results indicated that IIC was the dominant "Candidatus Accumulibacter" clade in both denitrifying phosphorus removal systems, reaching 50% of the total "Candidatus Accumulibacter" bacteria. The subdominant clade in the reactor with nitrite as the electron acceptor was IID, accounting for 31% of the total "Candidatus Accumulibacter" bacteria. The FCM and qPCR results suggested that clades IIC and IID were both coccus, clade IIF was coccobacillus, and clade IA was bacillus. FISH analysis also indicated that PAOs were major cocci in the systems. An equivalence test of FCM-based quantification confirmed the accuracy of FISH-staining-flow cytometry, which can meet the quantitative requirements for PAOs in complex activated sludge samples.IMPORTANCE As one group of the most important functional phosphorus removal organisms, "Candidatus Accumulibacter," affiliated with the Rhodocyclus group of the Betaproteobacteria, is a widely recognized and studied PAO in the field of biological wastewater treatment. The morphotypes and population structure of clade-level "Candidatus Accumulibacter" were studied through novel FISH-staining-flow cytometry, which involved denitrifying phosphorus removal (DPR) achieving carbon and energy savings and simultaneous removal of N and P, thus inferring the different denitrifying phosphorus removal abilities of these clades. Additionally, based on this method, in situ quantification for specific polyphosphate-accumulating organisms (PAOs) enables a more efficient process and more accurate result. The establishment of FISH-staining-flow cytometry makes cell sorting of clade-level noncultivated organisms available.
Project description:To investigate the fine-scale diversity of the polyphosphate-accumulating organisms (PAO) "Candidatus Accumulibacter phosphatis" (henceforth referred to as "Ca. Accumulibacter"), two laboratory-scale sequencing batch reactors (SBRs) for enhanced biological phosphorus removal (EBPR) were operated with sodium acetate as the sole carbon source. During SBR operations, activated sludge always contained morphologically different "Ca. Accumulibacter" strains showing typical EBPR performances, as confirmed by the combined technique of fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) and microautoradiography (MAR). Fragments of "Ca. Accumulibacter" 16S rRNA genes were retrieved from the sludge. Phylogenetic analyses together with sequences from the GenBank database showed that "Ca. Accumulibacter" 16S rRNA genes of the EBPR sludge were clearly differentiated into four "Ca. Accumulibacter" clades, Acc-SG1, Acc-SG2, Acc-SG3, and Acc-SG4. The specific FISH probes Acc444, Acc184, Acc72, and Acc119 targeting these clades and some helpers and competitors were designed by using the ARB program. Microbial characterization by FISH analysis using specific FISH probes also clearly indicated the presence of different "Ca. Accumulibacter" cell morphotypes. Especially, members of Acc-SG3, targeted by probe Acc72, were coccobacillus-shaped cells with a size of approximately 2 to 3 mum, while members of Acc-SG1, Acc-SG2, and Acc-SG4, targeted by Acc444, Acc184, and Acc119, respectively, were coccus-shaped cells approximately 1 mum in size. Subsequently, cells targeted by each FISH probe were sorted by use of a flow cytometer, and their polyphosphate kinase 1 (ppk1) gene homologs were amplified by using a ppk1-specific PCR primer set for "Ca. Accumulibacter." The phylogenetic tree based on sequences of the ppk1 gene homologs was basically congruent with that of the 16S rRNA genes, but members of Acc-SG3 with a distinct morphology comprised two different ppk1 genes. These results suggest that "Ca. Accumulibacter" strains may be diverse physiologically and ecologically and represent distinct populations with genetically determined adaptations in EBPR systems.
Project description:Through identification of highly expressed proteins from a mixed culture activated sludge system this study provides functional evidence of microbial transformations important for enhanced biological phosphorus removal (EBPR).A laboratory-scale sequencing batch reactor was successfully operated for different levels of EBPR, removing around 25, 40 and 55 mg/l P. The microbial communities were dominated by the uncultured polyphosphate-accumulating organism "Candidatus Accumulibacter phosphatis". When EBPR failed, the sludge was dominated by tetrad-forming alpha-Proteobacteria. Representative and reproducible 2D gel protein separations were obtained for all sludge samples. 638 protein spots were matched across gels generated from the phosphate removing sludges. 111 of these were excised and 46 proteins were identified using recently available sludge metagenomic sequences. Many of these closely match proteins from "Candidatus Accumulibacter phosphatis" and could be directly linked to the EBPR process. They included enzymes involved in energy generation, polyhydroxyalkanoate synthesis, glycolysis, gluconeogenesis, glycogen synthesis, glyoxylate/TCA cycle, fatty acid beta oxidation, fatty acid synthesis and phosphate transport. Several proteins involved in cellular stress response were detected.Importantly, this study provides direct evidence linking the metabolic activities of "Accumulibacter" to the chemical transformations observed in EBPR. Finally, the results are discussed in relation to current EBPR metabolic models.
Project description:To characterize the denitrifying phosphorus (P) uptake properties of "Candidatus Accumulibacter phosphatis," a sequencing batch reactor (SBR) was operated with acetate. The SBR operation was gradually acclimated from anaerobic-oxic (AO) to anaerobic-anoxic-oxic (A2O) conditions by stepwise increases of nitrate concentration and the anoxic time. The communities of "Ca. Accumulibacter" and associated bacteria at the initial (AO) and final (A2O) stages were compared using 16S rRNA and polyphosphate kinase genes and using fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH). The acclimation process led to a clear shift in the relative abundances of recognized "Ca. Accumulibacter" subpopulations from clades IIA > IA > IIF to clades IIC > IA > IIF, as well as to increases in the abundance of other associated bacteria (Dechloromonas [from 1.2% to 19.2%] and "Candidatus Competibacter phosphatis" [from 16.4% to 20.0%]), while the overall "Ca. Accumulibacter" abundance decreased (from 55.1% to 29.2%). A series of batch experiments combined with FISH/microautoradiography (MAR) analyses was performed to characterize the denitrifying P uptake properties of the "Ca. Accumulibacter" clades. In FISH/MAR experiments using slightly diluted sludge (?0.5 g/liter), all "Ca. Accumulibacter" clades successfully took up phosphorus in the presence of nitrate. However, the "Ca. Accumulibacter" clades showed no P uptake in the presence of nitrate when the sludge was highly diluted (?0.005 g/liter); under these conditions, reduction of nitrate to nitrite did not occur, whereas P uptake by "Ca. Accumulibacter" clades occurred when nitrite was added. These results suggest that the "Ca. Accumulibacter" cells lack nitrate reduction capabilities and that P uptake by "Ca. Accumulibacter" is dependent upon nitrite generated by associated nitrate-reducing bacteria such as Dechloromonas and "Ca. Competibacter."
Project description:Candidatus Accumulibacter phosphatis is in general presented as the dominant organism responsible for the biological removal of phosphorus in activated sludge wastewater treatment plants. Lab-scale enhanced biological phosphorus removal (EBPR) studies, usually use acetate as carbon source. However, the complexity of the carbon sources present in wastewater could allow other potential poly-phosphate accumulating organism (PAOs), such as putative fermentative PAOs (e.g., Tetrasphaera), to proliferate in coexistence or competition with Ca. Accumulibacter. This research assessed the effects of lactate on microbial selection and process performance of an EBPR lab-scale study. The addition of lactate resulted in the coexistence of Ca. Accumulibacter and Tetrasphaera in a single EBPR reactor. An increase in anaerobic glycogen consumption from 1.17 to 2.96 C-mol/L and anaerobic PHV formation from 0.44 to 0.87 PHV/PHA C-mol/C-mol corresponded to the increase in the influent lactate concentration. The dominant metabolism shifted from a polyphosphate-accumulating metabolism (PAM) to a glycogen accumulating metabolism (GAM) without EBPR activity. However, despite the GAM, traditional glycogen accumulating organisms (GAOs; Candidatus Competibacter phosphatis and Defluvicoccus) were not detected. Instead, the 16s RNA amplicon analysis showed that the genera Tetrasphaera was the dominant organism, while a quantification based on FISH-biovolume indicated that Ca. Accumulibacter remained the dominant organism, indicating certain discrepancies between these microbial analytical methods. Despite the discrepancies between these microbial analytical methods, neither Ca. Accumulibacter nor Tetrasphaera performed biological phosphorus removal by utilizing lactate as carbon source.
Project description:We investigated the fine-scale population structure of the "Candidatus Accumulibacter" lineage in enhanced biological phosphorus removal (EBPR) systems using the polyphosphate kinase 1 gene (ppk1) as a genetic marker. We retrieved fragments of "Candidatus Accumulibacter" 16S rRNA and ppk1 genes from one laboratory-scale and several full-scale EBPR systems. Phylogenies reconstructed using 16S rRNA genes and ppk1 were largely congruent, with ppk1 granting higher phylogenetic resolution and clearer tree topology and thus serving as a better genetic marker than 16S rRNA for revealing population structure within the "Candidatus Accumulibacter" lineage. Sequences from at least five clades of "Candidatus Accumulibacter" were recovered by ppk1-targeted PCR, and subsequently, specific primer sets were designed to target the ppk1 gene for each clade. Quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) assays using "Candidatus Accumulibacter"-specific 16S rRNA and "Candidatus Accumulibacter" clade-specific ppk1 primers were developed and conducted on three laboratory-scale and nine full-scale EBPR samples and two full-scale non-EBPR samples to determine the abundance of the total "Candidatus Accumulibacter" lineage and the relative distributions and abundances of the five "Candidatus Accumulibacter" clades. The qPCR-based estimation of the total "Candidatus Accumulibacter" fraction as a proportion of the bacterial community as measured using 16S rRNA genes was not significantly different from the estimation measured using ppk1, demonstrating the power of ppk1 as a genetic marker for detection of all currently defined "Candidatus Accumulibacter" clades. The relative distributions of "Candidatus Accumulibacter" clades varied among different EBPR systems and also temporally within a system. Our results suggest that the "Candidatus Accumulibacter" lineage is more diverse than previously realized and that different clades within the lineage are ecologically distinct.
Project description:Enhanced biological phosphorus removal (EBPR) is widely used for removal of phosphorus from wastewater. In this study, a metagenome (18.2 Gb) was generated using Illumina sequencing from a full-scale EBPR plant to study the community structure and genetic potential. Quantitative fluorescence in situ hybridization (qFISH) was applied as an independent method to evaluate the community structure. The results were in qualitative agreement, but a DNA extraction bias against gram positive bacteria using standard extraction protocols was identified, which would not have been identified without the use of qFISH. The genetic potential for community function showed enrichment of genes involved in phosphate metabolism and biofilm formation, reflecting the selective pressure of the EBPR process. Most contigs in the assembled metagenome had low similarity to genes from currently sequenced genomes, underlining the need for more reference genomes of key EBPR species. Only the genome of 'Candidatus Accumulibacter', a genus of phosphorus-removing organisms, was closely enough related to the species present in the metagenome to allow for detailed investigations. Accumulibacter accounted for only 4.8% of all bacteria by qFISH, but the depth of sequencing enabled detailed insight into their microdiversity in the full-scale plant. Only 15% of the reads matching Accumulibacter had a high similarity (>95%) to the sequenced Accumulibacter clade IIA strain UW-1 genome, indicating the presence of some microdiversity. The differences in gene complement between the Accumulibacter clades were limited to genes for extracellular polymeric substances and phage-related genes, suggesting a selective pressure from phages on the Accumulibacter diversity.
Project description:Here we employed quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) assays for polyphosphate kinase 1 (ppk1) and 16S rRNA genes to assess relative abundances of dominant clades of Candidatus Accumulibacter phosphatis (referred to Accumulibacter) in 18 globally distributed full-scale wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) from six countries. Accumulibacter were not only detected in the 6 WWTPs performing biological phosphorus removal, but also inhabited in the other 11 WWTPs employing conventional activated sludge (AS) with abundances ranging from 0.02% to 7.0%. Among the AS samples, clades IIC and IID were found to be dominant among the five Accumulibacter clades. The relative abundance of each clade in the Accumulibacter lineage significantly correlated (p < 0.05) with the influent total phosphorus and chemical oxygen demand instead of geographical factors (e.g. latitude), which showed that the local wastewater characteristics and WWTPs configurations could be more significant to determine the proliferation of Accumulibacter clades in full-scale WWTPs rather than the geographical location. Moreover, two novel Accumulibacter clades (IIH and II-I) which had not been previously detected were discovered in two enhanced biological phosphorus removal (EBPR) WWTPs. The results deepened our understanding of the Accumulibacter diversity in environmental samples.
Project description:Members of the genus Candidatus Accumulibacter are important in many wastewater treatment systems performing enhanced biological phosphorus removal (EBPR). The Accumulibacter lineage can be subdivided phylogenetically into multiple clades, and previous work showed that these clades are ecologically distinct. The complete genome of Candidatus Accumulibacter phosphatis strain UW-1, a member of Clade IIA, was previously sequenced. Here, we report a draft genome sequence of Candidatus Accumulibacter spp. strain UW-2, a member of Clade IA, assembled following shotgun metagenomic sequencing of laboratory-scale bioreactor sludge. We estimate the genome to be 80-90% complete. Although the two clades share 16S rRNA sequence identity of >98.0%, we observed a remarkable lack of synteny between the two genomes. We identified 2317 genes shared between the two genomes, with an average nucleotide identity (ANI) of 78.3%, and accounting for 49% of genes in the UW-1 genome. Unlike UW-1, the UW-2 genome seemed to lack genes for nitrogen fixation and carbon fixation. Despite these differences, metabolic genes essential for denitrification and EBPR, including carbon storage polymer and polyphosphate metabolism, were conserved in both genomes. The ANI from genes associated with EBPR was statistically higher than that from genes not associated with EBPR, indicating a high selective pressure in EBPR systems. Further, we identified genomic islands of foreign origins including a near-complete lysogenic phage in the Clade IA genome. Interestingly, Clade IA appeared to be more phage susceptible based on it containing only a single Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats locus as compared with the two found in Clade IIA. Overall, the comparative analysis provided a genetic basis to understand physiological differences and ecological niches of Accumulibacter populations, and highlights the importance of diversity in maintaining system functional resilience.
Project description:A sequencing batch reactor fed mainly by acetate was operated to perform enhanced biological phosphorus removal (EBPR). A short-term pH shock from 7.0 to 6.0 led to a complete loss of phosphate-removing capability and a drastic change of microbial communities. 16S rRNA gene pyrosequencing showed that large proportions of glycogen accumulating organisms (GAOs) (accounted for 16% of bacteria) bloomed, including Candidatus Competibacter phosphatis and Defluviicoccus-related tetrad-forming organism, causing deteriorated EBPR performance. The EBPR performance recovered with time and the dominant Candidatus Accumulibacter (Accumulibacter) clades shifted from Clade IIC to IIA while GAOs populations shrank significantly. The Accumulibacter population variation provided a good opportunity for genome binning using a bi-dimensional coverage method, and a genome of Accumulibacter Clade IIC was well retrieved with over 90% completeness. Comparative genomic analysis demonstrated that Accumulibacter clades had different abilities in nitrogen metabolism and carbon fixation, which shed light on enriching different Accumulibacter populations selectively.