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.