Viral composition and context in metagenomes from biofilm and suspended growth municipal wastewater treatment plants.
ABSTRACT: Wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) contain high density and diversity of viruses which can significantly impact microbial communities in aquatic systems. While previous studies have investigated viruses in WWTP samples that have been specifically concentrated for viruses and filtered to exclude bacteria, little is known about viral communities associated with bacterial communities throughout wastewater treatment systems. Additionally, differences in viral composition between attached and suspended growth wastewater treatment bioprocesses are not well characterized. Here, shotgun metagenomics was used to analyse wastewater and biomass from transects through two full-scale WWTPs for viral composition and associations with bacterial hosts. One WWTP used a suspended growth activated sludge bioreactor and the other used a biofilm reactor (trickling filter). Myoviridae, Podoviridae and Siphoviridae were the dominant viral families throughout both WWTPs, which are all from the order Caudovirales. Beta diversity analysis of viral sequences showed that samples clustered significantly both by plant and by specific sampling location. For each WWTP, the overall bacterial community structure was significantly different than community structure of bacterial taxa associated with viral sequences. These findings highlight viral community composition in transects through different WWTPs and provide context for dsDNA viral sequences in bacterial communities from these systems.
Project description:Surface water quality strongly depends on anthropogenic activity. Among the main anthropogenic sources of this activity are the wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) effluents. The discharged loads of nutrients and suspended solids could provoke serious problems for receiving water bodies and significantly alter the surface water quality. This study presents inventory analysis and chemometric assessment of WWTP effluents based on the mandatory monitoring data. The comparison between the Bulgarian WWTPs and previously reported data from other countries reveals that discharged loads from investigated WWTPs are lower. This is particularly valid for total suspended solids (TSS). The low TSS loads are the reason for the deviations of the typical calculated WWTP effluent ratios of Bulgarian WWTPs compared to the WWTPs worldwide. The performed multivariate analysis reveals the hidden factors that determine the content of WWTP effluents. The source apportioning based on multivariate curve resolution analysis provides detailed information for source contribution profiles of the investigated WWTP effluent loads and elucidate the difference between WWTPs included in this study.
Project description:This study was conducted to investigate whether functions encoded in the metagenome could improve our ability to understand the link between microbial community structures and functions in activated sludge. By analyzing data sets from six industrial and six municipal wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs), covering different configurations, operational conditions, and geographic regions, we found that wastewater influent composition was an overriding factor shaping the metagenomic composition of the activated sludge samples. Community GC content profiles were conserved within treatment plants on a time scale of years and between treatment plants with similar influent wastewater types. Interestingly, GC contents of the represented phyla covaried with the average GC contents of the corresponding WWTP metagenome. This suggests that the factors influencing nucleotide composition act similarly across taxa and thus the variation in nucleotide contents is driven by environmental differences between WWTPs. While taxonomic richness and functional richness were correlated, shotgun metagenomics complemented taxon-based analyses in the task of classifying microbial communities involved in wastewater treatment systems. The observed taxonomic dissimilarity between full-scale WWTPs receiving influent types with varied compositions, as well as the inferred taxonomic and functional assignment of recovered genomes from each metagenome, were consistent with underlying differences in the abundance of distinctive sets of functional categories. These conclusions were robust with respect to plant configuration, operational and environmental conditions, and even differences in laboratory protocols.This work contributes to the elucidation of drivers of microbial community assembly in wastewater treatment systems. Our results are significant because they provide clear evidence that bacterial communities in WWTPs assemble mainly according to influent wastewater characteristics. Differences in bacterial community structures between WWTPs were consistent with differences in the abundance of distinctive sets of functional categories, which were related to the metabolic potential that would be expected according to the source of the wastewater.
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:Wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) release treated effluent containing mobile genetic elements (MGEs), antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs), and microorganisms into the environment, yet little is known about their influence on nearby microbial communities and the retention of these factors in receiving water bodies. Our research aimed to characterize the genes and organisms from two different WWTPs that discharge into Lake Michigan, as well as from surrounding lake sediments to determine the dispersal and fate of these factors with respect to distance from the effluent outfall. Shotgun metagenomics coupled to distance-decay analyses showed a higher abundance of genes identical to those in WWTP effluent genes in sediments closer to outfall sites than in sediments farther away, indicating their possible WWTP origin. We also found genes attributed to organisms, such as those belonging to Helicobacteraceae, Legionellaceae, Moraxellaceae, and Neisseriaceae, in effluent from both WWTPs and decreasing in abundance in lake sediments with increased distance from WWTPs. Moreover, our results showed that the WWTPs likely influence the ARG composition in lake sediments close to the effluent discharge. Many of these ARGs were located on MGEs in both the effluent and sediment samples, indicating a relatively broad propensity for horizontal gene transfer (HGT). Our approach allowed us to specifically link genes to organisms and their genetic context, providing insight into WWTP impacts on natural microbial communities. Overall, our results suggest a substantial influence of wastewater effluent on gene content and microbial community structure in the sediments of receiving water bodies.IMPORTANCE Wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) release their effluent into aquatic environments. Although treated, effluent retains many genes and microorganisms that have the potential to influence the receiving water in ways that are poorly understood. Here, we tracked the genetic footprint, including genes specific to antibiotic resistance and mobile genetic elements and their associated organisms, from WWTPs to lake sediments. Our work is novel in that we used metagenomic data sets to comprehensively evaluate total gene content and the genetic and taxonomic context of specific genes in environmental samples putatively impacted by WWTP inputs. Based on two different WWTPs with different treatment processes, our findings point to an influence of WWTPs on the presence, abundance, and composition of these factors in the environment.
Project description:Wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) are an effective barrier in the protection of human and environment health around the world, although WWTPs also are suggested to be selectors and-or reservoirs of antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) before entering the environment. The dogma about WWTPs as "ARG selectors" presumes that biotreatment compartments (e.g., activated sludge; AS) are single densely populated ecosystems with elevated horizontal gene transfer. However, recent work has suggested WWTP biotreatment compartments may be different than previously believed relative to antibiotic resistance (AR) fate, and other process factors, such as bacterial separation and specific waste sources, may be key to ARGs released to the environment. Here we combined 16S rRNA metagenomic sequencing and high-throughput qPCR to characterise microbial communities and ARGs across a wastewater network in Spain that includes both community (i.e., non-clinical urban) and hospital sources. Contrary to expectations, ARGs found in downstream receiving waters were not dominated by AS biosolids (RAS), but more resembled raw wastewater sources. In fact, ARGs and microbial communities in liquid-phase WWTP effluents and RAS were significantly different (Bray-Curtis dissimilarity index = 0.66 ± 0.11), with a consequential fraction of influent ARGs and organisms passing directly through the WWTP with limited association with RAS. Instead, ARGs and organisms in the RAS may be more defined by biosolids separation and biophysical traits, such as flocculation, rather than ARG carriage. This explains why RAS has significantly lower ARG richness (47 ± 4 ARGs) than liquid-phase effluents (104 ± 5 ARGs), and downstream water column (135 ± 4 ARGs) and river sediments (120 ± 5 ARGs) (Tukey's test, p < 0.001). These data suggest RAS and liquid-phase WWTP effluents may reflect two parallel ecosystems with potentially limited ARG exchange. As such, ARG mitigation in WWTPs should more focus on removing bacterial hosts from the liquid phase, AR source reduction, and possibly disinfection to reduce ARG releases to the environment.
Project description:Wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) collect wastewater from various sources for a multi-step treatment process. By mixing a large variety of bacteria and promoting their proximity, WWTPs constitute potential hotspots for the emergence of antibiotic resistant bacteria. Concerns have been expressed regarding the potential of WWTPs to spread antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) from environmental reservoirs to human pathogens. We utilized epicPCR (Emulsion, Paired Isolation and Concatenation PCR) to detect the bacterial hosts of ARGs in two WWTPs. We identified the host distribution of four resistance-associated genes (tetM, int1, qacE?1and blaOXA-58) in influent and effluent. The bacterial hosts of these resistance genes varied between the WWTP influent and effluent, with a generally decreasing host range in the effluent. Through 16S rRNA gene sequencing, it was determined that the resistance gene carrying bacteria include both abundant and rare taxa. Our results suggest that the studied WWTPs mostly succeed in decreasing the host range of the resistance genes during the treatment process. Still, there were instances where effluent contained resistance genes in bacterial groups not carrying these genes in the influent. By permitting exhaustive profiling of resistance-associated gene hosts in WWTP bacterial communities, the application of epicPCR provides a new level of precision to our resistance gene risk estimates.
Project description: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:Moving bed biofilm reactor (MBBR) systems are increasingly used for municipal and industrial wastewater treatment, yet in contrast to activated sludge (AS) systems, little is known about their constituent microbial communities. This study investigated the community composition of two municipal MBBR wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) in Wellington, New Zealand. Monthly samples comprising biofilm and suspended biomass were collected over a 12-month period. Bacterial and archaeal community composition was determined using a full-cycle community approach, including analysis of 16S rRNA gene libraries, fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) and automated ribosomal intergenic spacer analysis (ARISA). Differences in microbial community structure and abundance were observed between the two WWTPs and between biofilm and suspended biomass. Biofilms from both plants were dominated by Clostridia and sulfate-reducing members of the Deltaproteobacteria (SRBs). FISH analyses indicated morphological differences in the Deltaproteobacteria detected at the two plants and also revealed distinctive clustering between SRBs and members of the Methanosarcinales, which were the only Archaea detected and were present in low abundance (<5%). Biovolume estimates of the SRBs were higher in biofilm samples from one of the WWTPs which receives both domestic and industrial waste and is influenced by seawater infiltration. The suspended communities from both plants were diverse and dominated by aerobic members of the Gammaproteobacteria and Betaproteobacteria. This study represents the first detailed analysis of microbial communities in full-scale MBBR systems and indicates that this process selects for distinctive biofilm and planktonic communities, both of which differ from those found in conventional AS systems.
Project description:Bacteriophage – host dynamics and interactions are important for microbial community composition and ecosystem function. Nonetheless, empirical evidence in engineered environment is scarce. Here, we examined phage and prokaryotic community composition of four anaerobic digestors in full-scale wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) across China. Despite relatively stable process performance in biogas production, both phage and prokaryotic groups fluctuated monthly over a year of study period. Nonetheless, there were significant correlations in their α- and β-diversities between phage and prokaryotes. Phages explained 40.6% of total prokaryotic community composition, much higher than the explainable power by abiotic factors (14.5%). Consequently, phages were significantly (P<0.010) linked to parameters related to process performance including biogas production and volatile solid concentrations. Association network analyses showed that phage-prokaryote pairs were deeply rooted, and two network modules were exclusively comprised of phages, suggesting a possibility of co-infection. Those results collectively demonstrate phages as a major biotic factor in controlling bacterial composition. Therefore, phages may play a larger role in shaping prokaryotic dynamics and process performance of WWTPs than currently appreciated, enabling reliable prediction of microbial communities across time and space. Overall design: 48 samples were monthly collected from 4 anaerobic tanks in 3 wastewater treatment plants (Ninghai WWTP has 2 tank applying mesophilic and thermophilic technology respectively) during a year.
Project description:Bacterial communities in wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) affect plant functionality through their role in the removal of pollutants from wastewater. Bacterial communities vary extensively based on plant operating conditions and influent characteristics. The capacity of WWTPs can also affect the bacterial community via variations in the organic or nutrient composition of the influent. Despite the importance considering capacity, the characteristics that control bacterial community assembly are largely unknown. In this study, we discovered that bacterial communities in WWTPs in Korea and Vietnam, which differ remarkably in capacity, exhibit unique structures and interactions that are governed mainly by the capacity of WWTPs. Bacterial communities were analysed using 16S rRNA gene sequencing and exhibited clear differences between the two regions, with these differences being most pronounced in activated sludge. We found that capacity contributed the most to bacterial interactions and community structure, whereas other factors had less impact. Co-occurrence network analysis showed that microorganisms from high-capacity WWTPs are more interrelated than those from low-capacity WWTPs, which corresponds to the tighter clustering of bacterial communities in Korea. These results will contribute to the understanding of bacterial community assembly in activated sludge processing.