Microbial Community Structure of Activated Sludge in Treatment Plants with Different Wastewater Compositions.
ABSTRACT: Activated sludge (AS) plays a crucial role in the treatment of domestic and industrial wastewater. AS is a biocenosis of microorganisms capable of degrading various pollutants, including organic compounds, toxicants, and xenobiotics. We performed 16S rRNA gene sequencing of AS and incoming sewage in three wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) responsible for processing sewage with different origins: municipal wastewater, slaughterhouse wastewater, and refinery sewage. In contrast to incoming wastewater, the taxonomic structure of AS biocenosis was found to become stable in time, and each WWTP demonstrated a unique taxonomic pattern. Most pathogenic microorganisms (Streptococcus, Trichococcus, etc.), which are abundantly represented in incoming sewage, were significantly decreased in AS of all WWTPs, except for the slaughterhouse wastewater. Additional load of bioreactors with influent rich in petroleum products and organic matter was associated with the increase of bacteria responsible for AS bulking and foaming. Here, we present a novel approach enabling the prediction of the metabolic potential of bacterial communities based on their taxonomic structures and MetaCyc database data. We developed a software application, XeDetect, to implement this approach. Using XeDetect, we found that the metabolic potential of the three bacterial communities clearly reflected the substrate composition. We revealed that the microorganisms responsible for AS bulking and foaming (most abundant in AS of slaughterhouse wastewater) played a leading role in the degradation of substrates such as fatty acids, amino acids, and other bioorganic compounds. Moreover, we discovered that the chemical, rather than the bacterial composition of the incoming wastewater was the main factor in AS structure formation. XeDetect (freely available: https://sourceforge.net/projects/xedetect) represents a novel powerful tool for the analysis of the metabolic capacity of bacterial communities. The tool will help to optimize bioreactor performance and avoid some most common technical problems.
Project description:Bulking and foaming are two notorious problems in activated sludge wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs), which are mainly associated with the excessive growth of bulking and foaming bacteria (BFB). However, studies on affecting factors of BFB in full-scale WWTPs are still limited. In this study, data sets of high-throughput sequencing (HTS) of 16S V3-V4 amplicons of 58 monthly activated sludge samples from a municipal WWTP was re-analyzed to investigate the BFB dynamics and further to study the determinative factors. The population of BFB occupied 0.6~36% (averagely 8.5%?±?7.3%) of the total bacteria and showed seasonal variations with higher abundance in winter-spring than summer-autumn. Pair-wise correlation analysis and canonical correlation analysis (CCA) showed that Gordonia sp. was positively correlated with NO2-N and negatively correlated with NO3-N, and Nostocodia limicola II Tetraspharea sp. was negatively correlated with temperature and positively correlated with NH3-N in activated sludge. Bacteria species correlated with BFB could be clustered into two negatively related modules. Moreover, with intensive time series sampling, the dominant BFB could be accurately modeled with environmental interaction network, i.e. environmental parameters and biotic interactions between BFB and related bacteria, indicating that abiotic and biotic factors were both crucial to the dynamics of BFB.
Project description:To investigate the differences in activated sludge microbial communities of different wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) and understand their metabolic potentials, we sampled sludge from every biological treatment unit of 5 full-scale waste water treatment systems in 3 typical Chinese municipal WWTPs. The microbial communities and overall metabolic patterns were not only affected by influent characteristics but also varied between different biological treatment units. Distinct genera in different wastewater treatment systems were identified. The important microorganisms in domestic sewage treatment systems were unclassified SHA-20, Caldilinea, Dechloromonas, and unclassified genera from Rhodospirilaceae and Caldilineaceae. The important microorganisms in dyeing wastewater treatment systems were Nitrospira, Sphingobacteriales, Thiobacillus, Sinobacteraceae and Comamonadaceae. Compared with the obvious differences in microbial community composition, the metabolic potential showed no significant differences.
Project description:The release of untreated sewage introduces non-indigenous microbial populations of uncertain composition into surface waters. We used massively parallel 454 pyrosequencing of hypervariable regions in rRNA genes to profile microbial communities from eight untreated sewage influent samples of two wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) in metropolitan Milwaukee. The sewage profiles included a discernible human faecal signature made up of several taxonomic groups including multiple Bifidobacteriaceae, Coriobacteriaceae, Bacteroidaceae, Lachnospiraceae and Ruminococcaceae genera. The faecal signature made up a small fraction of the taxa present in sewage but the relative abundance of these sequence tags mirrored the population structures of human faecal samples. These genera were much more prevalent in the sewage influent than standard indicators species. High-abundance sequences from taxonomic groups within the Beta- and Gammaproteobacteria dominated the sewage samples but occurred at very low levels in faecal and surface water samples, suggesting that these organisms proliferate within the sewer system. Samples from Jones Island (JI--servicing residential plus a combined sewer system) and South Shore (SS--servicing a residential area) WWTPs had very consistent community profiles, with greater similarity between WWTPs on a given collection day than the same plant collected on different days. Rainfall increased influent flows at SS and JI WWTPs, and this corresponded to greater diversity in the community at both plants. Overall, the sewer system appears to be a defined environment with both infiltration of rainwater and stormwater inputs modulating community composition. Microbial sewage communities represent a combination of inputs from human faecal microbes and enrichment of specific microbes from the environment to form a unique population structure.
Project description:As one of the largest biotechnological applications, activated sludge (AS) systems in wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) harbor enormous viruses, with 10-1,000-fold higher concentrations than in natural environments. However, the compositional variation and host-connections of AS viruses remain poorly explored. Here, we report a catalogue of ~50,000 prokaryotic viruses from six WWTPs, increasing the number of described viral species of AS by 23-fold, and showing the very high viral diversity which is largely unknown (98.4-99.6% of total viral contigs). Most viral genera are represented in more than one AS system with 53 identified across all. Viral infection widely spans 8 archaeal and 58 bacterial phyla, linking viruses with aerobic/anaerobic heterotrophs, and other functional microorganisms controlling nitrogen/phosphorous removal. Notably, Mycobacterium, notorious for causing AS foaming, is associated with 402 viral genera. Our findings expand the current AS virus catalogue and provide reference for the phage treatment to control undesired microorganisms in WWTPs.
Project description:Wastewater treatment is crucial to environmental hygiene in urban environments. However, wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) collect chemicals, organic matter, and microorganisms including pathogens and multi-resistant bacteria from various sources which may be potentially released into the environment via WWTP effluent. To better understand microbial dynamics in WWTPs, we characterized and compared the bacterial community of the inflow and effluent of a WWTP in Berlin, Germany using full-length 16S rRNA gene sequences, which allowed for species level determination in many cases and generally resolved bacterial taxa. Significantly distinct bacterial communities were identified in the wastewater inflow and effluent samples. Dominant operational taxonomic units (OTUs) varied both temporally and spatially. Disease associated bacterial groups were efficiently reduced in their relative abundance from the effluent by the WWTP treatment process, except for Legionella and Leptospira species which demonstrated an increase in relative proportion from inflow to effluent. This indicates that WWTPs, while effective against enteric bacteria, may enrich and release other potentially pathogenic bacteria into the environment. The taxonomic resolution of full-length 16S rRNA genes allows for improved characterization of potential pathogenic taxa and other harmful bacteria which is required to reliably assess health risk.
Project description:Foaming of activated sludge (AS) causes adverse impacts on wastewater treatment operation and hygiene. In this study, we investigated the microbial communities of foam, foaming AS and non-foaming AS in a sewage treatment plant via deep-sequencing of the taxonomic marker genes 16S rRNA and mycobacterial rpoB and a metagenomic approach. In addition to Actinobacteria, many genera (e.g., Clostridium XI, Arcobacter, Flavobacterium) were more abundant in the foam than in the AS. On the other hand, deep-sequencing of rpoB did not detect any obligate pathogenic mycobacteria in the foam. We found that unknown factors other than the abundance of Gordonia sp. could determine the foaming process, because abundance of the same species was stable before and after a foaming event over six months. More interestingly, although the dominant Gordonia foam former was the closest with G. amarae, it was identified as an undescribed Gordonia species by referring to the 16S rRNA gene, gyrB and, most convincingly, the reconstructed draft genome from metagenomic reads. Our results, based on metagenomics and deep sequencing, reveal that foams are derived from diverse taxa, which expands previous understanding and provides new insight into the underlying complications of the foaming phenomenon in AS.
Project description:"Candidatus Microthrix" bacteria are deeply branching filamentous actinobacteria which occur at the water-air interface of biological wastewater treatment plants, where they are often responsible for foaming and bulking. Here, we report the first draft genome sequence of a strain from this genus: "Candidatus Microthrix parvicella" strain Bio17-1.
Project description:Filamentous bulking is a common serious operational problem leading to deteriorated sludge settling that has long been observed in activated sludge biological wastewater treatment systems. A number of bacterial genera found therein possess filamentous morphology, where some have been shown to be implicated in bulking episodes (e.g., Ca. Microthrix), the impact of many others is still not clear. In this study we performed a survey of 17 Danish municipal wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) with nutrient removal using 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing over a period of 13 years, where all known filamentous bacteria from 30 genera were analyzed. The filamentous community constituted on average 13 ± 6%, and up to 43% of total read abundance with the same genera common to all plants. Ca. Microthrix and several genera belonging to phylum Chloroflexi were among the most abundant filamentous bacteria. The effect of filamentous bacteria on sludge settling properties was analyzed using measurements of the diluted sludge volume index (DSVI). Strong positive correlations with DSVI were observed only for Ca. Microthrix and Ca. Amarolinea, the latter being a novel, recently characterized genus belonging to the phylum Chloroflexi. The bulking potential of other filamentous bacteria was not significant despite their presence in many plants. Low phylogenetic diversity was observed for both Ca. Microthrix and Ca. Amarolinea, making physiological characterization of individual species and potential development of control strategies more feasible. In this study we show that, despite the high diversity of filamentous phylotypes in Danish WWTPs, only few of them were responsible for severe bulking episodes.
Project description:Activated sludge process has been widely adopted to remove pollutants in wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs). However, stable operation of activated sludge process is often compromised by the occurrence of filamentous bulking. The aim of this study is to build a proper model for timely diagnosis and prediction of filamentous sludge bulking in an activated sludge process. This study developed a state-based Gaussian Process Regression (GPR) model to monitor the filamentous sludge bulking related parameter, sludge volume index (SVI), in such a way that the evolution of SVI can be predicted over multi-step ahead. This methodology was validated with SVI data collected from one full-scale WWTP. Online diagnosis and prediction of filamentous bulking sludge with real-time SVI prediction was tested through a simulation study. The results showed that the proposed methodology was capable of predicting future SVIs with good accuracy, thus providing sufficient time for predicting and controlling filamentous sludge bulking.
Project description:Microbial sewage communities consist of a combination of human fecal microorganisms and nonfecal microorganisms, which may be residents of urban sewer infrastructure or flowthrough originating from gray water or rainwater inputs. Together, these different microorganism sources form an identifiable community structure that may serve as a signature for sewage discharges and as candidates for alternative indicators specific for human fecal pollution. However, the structure and variability of this community across geographic space remains uncharacterized. We used massively parallel 454 pyrosequencing of the V6 region in 16S rRNA genes to profile microbial communities from 13 untreated sewage influent samples collected from a wide range of geographic locations in the United States. We obtained a total of 380,175 high-quality sequences for sequence-based clustering, taxonomic analyses, and profile comparisons. The sewage profile included a discernible core human fecal signature made up of several abundant taxonomic groups within Firmicutes, Bacteroidetes, Actinobacteria, and Proteobacteria. DNA sequences were also classified into fecal, sewage infrastructure (i.e., nonfecal), and transient groups based on data comparisons with fecal samples. Across all sewage samples, an estimated 12.1% of sequences were fecal in origin, while 81.4% were consistently associated with the sewage infrastructure. The composition of feces-derived operational taxonomic units remained congruent across all sewage samples regardless of geographic locale; however, the sewage infrastructure community composition varied among cities, with city latitude best explaining this variation. Together, these results suggest that untreated sewage microbial communities harbor a core group of fecal bacteria across geographically dispersed wastewater sewage lines and that ambient water quality indicators targeting these select core microorganisms may perform well across the United States.