Effects of Predation by Protists on Prokaryotic Community Function, Structure, and Diversity in Anaerobic Granular Sludge.
ABSTRACT: Predation by protists is top-down pressure that regulates prokaryotic abundance, community function, structure, and diversity in natural and artificial ecosystems. Although the effects of predation by protists have been studied in aerobic ecosystems, they are poorly understood in anoxic environments. We herein studied the influence of predation by Metopus and Caenomorpha ciliates-ciliates frequently found in anoxic ecosystems-on prokaryotic community function, structure, and diversity. Metopus and Caenomorpha ciliates were cocultivated with prokaryotic assemblages (i.e., anaerobic granular sludge) in an up-flow anaerobic sludge blanket (UASB) reactor for 171 d. Predation by these ciliates increased the methanogenic activities of granular sludge, which constituted 155% of those found in a UASB reactor without the ciliates (i.e., control reactor). Sequencing of 16S rRNA gene amplicons using Illumina MiSeq revealed that the prokaryotic community in the UASB reactor with the ciliates was more diverse than that in the control reactor; 2,885-3,190 and 2,387-2,426 operational taxonomic units (>97% sequence similarities), respectively. The effects of predation by protists in anaerobic engineered systems have mostly been overlooked, and our results show that the influence of predation by protists needs to be examined and considered in the future for a better understanding of prokaryotic community structure and function.
Project description:The aim of the present study was to investigate the prokaryotic community structure of the anaerobic ciliate, Metopus sp. using rRNA sequencing, fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Metopus sp. was physically separated from anaerobic granular sludge in a domestic wastewater treatment plant and anoxically cultivated for 7 d. 16S rRNA gene sequences from the prokaryotes Methanoregula boonei and Clostridium aminobutyricum were abundantly detected in Metopus ciliates. The FISH analysis using the oligonucleotide probes Mg1200b and Cla568 demonstrated that these prokaryotes were localized within Metopus cells. These results identify M. boonei- and C. aminobutyricum-like prokaryotes as novel endosymbionts of Metopus ciliates.
Project description:Eukaryotes are important components of ecosystems in wastewater treatment processes. However, little is known about eukaryotic community in anaerobic wastewater treatment systems. In this study, eukaryotic communities in an up flow anaerobic sludge blanket (UASB) reactor treating domestic sewage during two years of operation were investigated using V4 and V9 regions of 18S rRNA gene for amplicon sequencing. In addition, activated sludge and influent sewage samples were also analyzed and used as the references for aerobic eukaryotic community to characterize anaerobic eukaryotes. The amplicon sequence V4 and V9 libraries detected different taxonomic groups, especially from the UASB samples, suggesting that commonly used V4 and V9 primer pairs could produce a bias for eukaryotic communities analysis. Eukaryotic community structures in the UASB reactor were influenced by the immigration of eukaryotes via influent sewage but were clearly different from the influent sewage and activated sludge. Multivariate statistics indicated that protist genera Cyclidium, Platyophrya and Subulatomonas correlated with chemical oxygen demand and suspended solid concentration, and could be used as bioindicators of treatment performance. Uncultured eukaryotes groups were dominant in the UASB reactor, and their physiological roles need to be examined to understand their contributions to anaerobic processes in future studies.
Project description:Tetramethylammonium-degrading methanogenic consortia from a complete-mixing suspended sludge (CMSS) and an upflow anaerobic sludge blanket (UASB) reactors were studied using multiple PCR-based molecular techniques and shotgun proteomic approach. The prokaryotic 16S rRNA genes of the consortia were analyzed by quantitative PCR, high-throughput sequencing, and DGGE-cloning methods. The results showed that methanogenic archaea were highly predominant in both reactors but differed markedly according to community structure. Community and proteomic analysis revealed that Methanomethylovorans and Methanosarcina were the major players for the demethylation of methylated substrates and methane formation through the reduction pathway of methyl-S-CoM and possibly, acetyl-CoA synthase/decarbonylase-related pathways. Unlike high dominance of one Methanomethylovorans population in the CMSS reactor, diverse methylotrophic Methanosarcina species inhabited in syntrophy-like association with hydrogenotrophic Methanobacterium in the granular sludge of UASB reactor. The overall findings indicated the reactor-dependent community structures of quaternary amines degradation and provided microbial insight for the improved understanding of engineering application.
Project description:We herein analyzed the diversity of microbes involved in anaerobic sulfur oxidation in an upflow anaerobic sludge blanket (UASB) reactor used for treating municipal sewage under low-temperature conditions. Anaerobic sulfur oxidation occurred in the absence of oxygen, with nitrite and nitrate as electron acceptors; however, reactor performance parameters demonstrated that anaerobic conditions were maintained. In order to gain insights into the underlying basis of anaerobic sulfur oxidation, the microbial diversity that exists in the UASB sludge was analyzed comprehensively to determine their identities and contribution to sulfur oxidation. Sludge samples were collected from the UASB reactor over a period of 2 years and used for bacterial 16S rRNA gene-based terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) and next-generation sequencing analyses. T-RFLP and sequencing results both showed that microbial community patterns changed markedly from day 537 onwards. Bacteria belonging to the genus Desulforhabdus within the phylum Proteobacteria and uncultured bacteria within the phylum Fusobacteria were the main groups observed during the period of anaerobic sulfur oxidation. Their abundance correlated with temperature, suggesting that these bacterial groups played roles in anaerobic sulfur oxidation in UASB reactors.
Project description:Upflow anaerobic sludge blanket (UASB) reactor has served as an effective process to treat industrial wastewater such as purified terephthalic acid (PTA) wastewater. For optimal UASB performance, balanced ecological interactions between syntrophs, methanogens, and fermenters are critical. However, much of the interactions remain unclear because UASB have been studied at a "macro"-level perspective of the reactor ecosystem. In reality, such reactors are composed of a suite of granules, each forming individual micro-ecosystems treating wastewater. Thus, typical approaches may be oversimplifying the complexity of the microbial ecology and granular development. To identify critical microbial interactions at both macro- and micro- level ecosystem ecology, we perform community and network analyses on 300 PTA-degrading granules from a lab-scale UASB reactor and two full-scale reactors. Based on MiSeq-based 16S rRNA gene sequencing of individual granules, different granule-types co-exist in both full-scale reactors regardless of granule size and reactor sampling depth, suggesting that distinct microbial interactions occur in different granules throughout the reactor. In addition, we identify novel networks of syntrophic metabolic interactions in different granules, perhaps caused by distinct thermodynamic conditions. Moreover, unseen methanogenic relationships (e.g. "Candidatus Aminicenantes" and Methanosaeta) are observed in UASB reactors. In total, we discover unexpected microbial interactions in granular micro-ecosystems supporting UASB ecology and treatment through a unique single-granule level approach.
Project description:The effect of nickel deprivation from the influent of a mesophilic (30 degrees C) methanol fed upflow anaerobic sludge bed (UASB) reactor was investigated by coupling the reactor performance to the evolution of the Methanosarcina population of the bioreactor sludge. The reactor was operated at pH 7.0 and an organic loading rate (OLR) of 5-15 g COD l(-1) day(-1) for 191 days. A clear limitation of the specific methanogenic activity (SMA) on methanol due to the absence of nickel was observed after 129 days of bioreactor operation: the SMA of the sludge in medium with the complete trace metal solution except nickel amounted to 1.164 (+/-0.167) g CH(4)-COD g VSS(-1) day(-1) compared to 2.027 (+/-0.111) g CH(4)-COD g VSS(-1) day(-1) in a medium with the complete (including nickel) trace metal solution. The methanol removal efficiency during these 129 days was 99%, no volatile fatty acid (VFA) accumulation was observed and the size of the Methanosarcina population increased compared to the seed sludge. Continuation of the UASB reactor operation with the nickel limited sludge lead to incomplete methanol removal, and thus methanol accumulation in the reactor effluent from day 142 onwards. This methanol accumulation subsequently induced an increase of the acetogenic activity in the UASB reactor on day 160. On day 165, 77% of the methanol fed to the system was converted to acetate and the Methanosarcina population size had substantially decreased. Inclusion of 0.5 muM Ni (dosed as NiCl(2)) to the influent from day 165 onwards lead to the recovery of the methanol removal efficiency to 99% without VFA accumulation within 2 days of bioreactor operation.
Project description:The effect of omitting zinc from the influent of mesophilic (30 degrees C) methanol fed upflow anaerobic sludge bed (UASB) reactors, and latter zinc supplementation to the influent to counteract the deprivation, was investigated by coupling the UASB reactor performance to the microbial ecology of the bioreactor sludge. Limitation of the specific methanogenic activity (SMA) on methanol due to the absence of zinc from the influent developed after 137 days of operation. At that day, the SMA in medium with a complete trace metal solution except Zn was 3.4 g CH4-COD g VSS(-1) day(-1), compared to 4.2 g CH4-COD g VSS(-1) day(-1) in a medium with a complete (including zinc) trace metal solution. The methanol removal capacity during these 137 days was 99% and no volatile fatty acids accumulated. Two UASB reactors, inoculated with the zinc-deprived sludge, were operated to study restoration of the zinc limitation by zinc supplementation to the bioreactor influent. In a first reactor, no changes to the operational conditions were made. This resulted in methanol accumulation in the reactor effluent after 12 days of operation, which subsequently induced acetogenic activity 5 days after the methanol accumulation started. Methanogenesis could not be recovered by the continuous addition of 0.5 microM ZnCl2 to the reactor for 13 days. In the second reactor, 0.5 microM ZnCl2 was added from its start-up. Although the reactor stayed 10 days longer methanogenically than the reactor operated without zinc, methanol accumulation was observed in this reactor (up to 1.1 g COD-MeOH L(-1)) as well. This study shows that zinc limitation can induce failure of methanol fed UASB reactors due to acidification, which cannot be restored by resuming the continuous supply of the deprived metal.
Project description:A number of anaerobic ciliates, unicellular eukaryotes, intracellularly possess methanogenic archaea and bacteria as symbiotic partners. Although this tripartite relationship is of interest in terms of the fact that each participant is from a different domain, the difficulty in culture and maintenance of those host species with symbiotic partners has disturbed both ecological and functional studies so far. In this study, we obtained a stable culture of a small anaerobic scuticociliate, strain GW7. By transmission electron microscopic observation and fluorescent in situ hybridization with domain-specific probes, we demonstrate that GW7 possesses both archaeal and bacterial endosymbionts in its cytoplasm. These endosymbionts are in dependently associated with hydrogenosomes, which are organelle producing hydrogen and ATP under anaerobic conditions. Clone library analyses targeting prokaryotic 16S rRNA genes, fluorescent in situ hybridization with endosymbiont-specific probes, and molecular phylogenetic analyses revealed the phylogenetic affiliations and intracellular localizations of these endosymbionts. The endosymbiotic archaeon is a methanogen belonging to the genus Methanoregula (order Methanomicrobiales); a member of this genus has previously been described as the endosymbiont of an anaerobic ciliate from the genus Metopus (class Armophorea), which is only distantly related to strain GW7 (class Oligohymenophorea). The endosymbiotic bacterium belongs to the family Holosporaceae of the class Alphaproteobacteria, which also comprises several endosymbionts of various aerobic ciliates. For this endosymbiotic bacterium, we propose a novel candidate genus and species, "Candidatus Hydrogenosomobacter endosymbioticus."IMPORTANCE Tripartite symbioses between anaerobic ciliated protists and their intracellular archaeal and bacterial symbionts are not uncommon, but most reports have been based mainly on microscopic observations. Deeper insights into the function, ecology, and evolution of these fascinating symbioses involving partners from all three domains of life have been hampered by the difficulties of culturing anaerobic ciliates in the laboratory and the frequent loss of their prokaryotic partners during long-term cultivation. In the present study, we report the isolation of an anaerobic scuticociliate, strain GW7, which has been stably maintained in our laboratory for more than 3 years without losing either of its endosymbionts. Unexpectedly, molecular characterization of the endosymbionts revealed that the bacterial partner of GW7 is phylogenetically related to intranuclear endosymbionts of aerobic ciliates. This strain will enable future genomic, transcriptomic, and proteomic analyses of the interactions in this tripartite symbiosis and a comparison with endosymbioses in aerobic ciliates.
Project description:A filamentous bulking of a methanogenic granular sludge caused by uncultured filamentous bacteria of the candidate phylum KSB3 in an upflow anaerobic sludge blanket (UASB) system has been reported. To characterize the physiological traits of the filaments, a polyphasic approach consisting of rRNA-based activity monitoring of the KSB3 filaments using the RNase H method and substrate uptake profiling using microautoradiography combined with fluorescence in situ hybridization (MAR-FISH) was conducted. On the basis of rRNA-based activity, the monitoring of a full-scale UASB reactor operated continuously revealed that KSB3 cells became active and predominant (up to 54% of the total 16S rRNA) in the sludge when the carbohydrate loading to the system increased. Batch experiments with a short incubation of the sludge with maltose, glucose, fructose, and maltotriose at relatively low concentrations (approximately 0.1 mM) in the presence of yeast extract also showed an increase in KSB3 rRNA levels under anaerobic conditions. MAR-FISH confirmed that the KSB3 cells took up radioisotopic carbons from [(14)C]maltose and [(14)C]glucose under the same incubation conditions in the batch experiments. These results suggest that one of the important ecophysiological characteristics of KSB3 cells in the sludge is carbohydrate degradation in wastewater and that high carbohydrate loadings may trigger an outbreak of KSB3 bacteria, causing sludge bulking in UASB systems.
Project description:N-methyl-p-nitroaniline (MNA) is an ingredient of insensitive munitions (IM) compounds that serves as a plasticizer and helps reduce unwanted detonations. As its use becomes widespread, MNA waste streams will be generated, necessitating viable treatment options. We studied MNA biodegradation and its inhibition potential to a representative anaerobic microbial population in wastewater treatment, methanogens. Anaerobic biodegradation and toxicity assays were performed and an up-flow anaerobic sludge blanket reactor (UASB) was operated to test continuous degradation of MNA. MNA was transformed almost stoichiometrically to N-methyl-p-phenylenediamine (MPD). MPD was not mineralized; however, it was readily autoxidized and polymerized extensively upon aeration at pH = 9. In the UASB reactor, MNA was fully degraded up to a loading rate of 297.5 ?M MNA d(-1). Regarding toxicity, MNA was very inhibitory to acetoclastic methanogens (IC50 = 103 ?M) whereas MPD was much less toxic, causing only 13.9% inhibition at the highest concentration tested (1025 ?M). The results taken as a whole indicate that anaerobic sludge can transform MNA to MPD continuously, and that the transformation decreases the cytotoxicity of the parent pollutant. MPD can be removed through extensive polymerization. These insights could help define efficient treatment options for waste streams polluted with MNA.