Project description:Understanding microbial community diversity is thought to be crucial for improving process functioning and stabilities of wastewater treatment systems. However, current studies largely focus on taxonomic groups based on 16S rRNA, which are not necessarily linked to functioning, or a few selected functional genes. Here we launched a study to profile the overall functional genes of microbial communities in three full-scale wastewater treatment systems. Triplicate activated sludge samples from each system were analyzed using a high-throughput metagenomics tool named GeoChip 4.2, resulting in the detection of 38,507 to 40,647 functional genes. A high similarity of 75.5% to 79.7% shared genes was noted among the nine samples. Moreover, correlation analyses showed that the abundances of a wide array of functional genes were associated with system performances. For example, the abundances of overall nitrogen cycling genes had a strong correlation to total nitrogen (TN) removal rates (r = 0.7647, P < 0.01). The abundances of overall carbon cycling genes were moderately correlated with COD removal rates (r = 0.6515, P < 0.01). Lastly, we found that influent chemical oxygen demand (COD inf) and total phosphorus concentrations (TP inf), and dissolved oxygen (DO) concentrations were key environmental factors shaping the overall functional genes. Together, the results revealed vast functional gene diversity and some links between the functional gene compositions and microbe-mediated processes. Overall design: Three full-scale wastewater treatment systems located in the same city were investigated. Triplicate samples were collected in each site.
Project description:The resilience of microbial communities to press disturbances and whether ecosystem function is governed by microbial composition or by the environment have not been empirically tested. To address these issues, a whole-ecosystem manipulation was performed in a full-scale activated sludge wastewater treatment plant. The parameter solids retention time (SRT) was used to manipulate microbial composition, which started at 30 days, then decreased to 12 and 3 days, before operation was restored to starting conditions (30-day SRT). Activated sludge samples were collected throughout the 313-day time series in parallel with bioreactor performance ('ecosystem function'). Bacterial small subunit (SSU) rRNA genes were surveyed from sludge samples resulting in a sequence library of >417,000 SSU rRNA genes. A shift in community composition was observed for 12- and 3-day SRTs. The composition was altered such that r-strategists were enriched in the system during the 3-day SRT, whereas K-strategists were only present at SRTs?12 days. This shift corresponded to loss of ecosystem functions (nitrification, denitrification and biological phosphorus removal) for SRTs?12 days. Upon return to a 30-day SRT, complete recovery of the bioreactor performance was observed after 54 days despite an incomplete recovery of bacterial diversity. In addition, a different, yet phylogenetically related, community with fewer of its original rare members displaced the pre-disturbance community. Our results support the hypothesis that microbial ecosystems harbor functionally redundant phylotypes with regard to general ecosystem functions (carbon oxidation, nitrification, denitrification and phosphorus accumulation). However, the impacts of decreased rare phylotype membership on ecosystem stability and micropollutant removal remain unknown.
Project description:Effect of ecological variables on community assembly of heterotrophic bacteria at eight full-scale and two pilot-scale activated sludge wastewater treatment plants (AS-WWTPs) were explored by pyrosequencing of 16S rRNA gene amplicons. In total, 39 samples covering a range of abiotic factors spread over space and time were analyzed. A core bacterial community of 24 families detected in at least six of the eight AS-WWTPs was defined. In addition to the core families, plant-specific families (observed at <50% AS-WWTPs) were found to be also important in the community structure. Observed beta diversity was partitioned with respect to ecological variables. Specifically, the following variables were considered: influent wastewater characteristics, season (winter vs. summer), process operations (conventional, oxidation ditch, and sequence batch reactor), reactor sizes (pilot-scale vs. full-scale reactors), chemical stresses defined by ozonation of return activated sludge, interannual variation, and geographical locations. Among the assessed variables, influent wastewater characteristics and geographical locations contributed more in explaining the differences between AS-WWTP bacterial communities with a maximum of approximately 26% of the observed variations. Partitioning of beta diversity is necessary to interpret the inherent variability in microbial community assembly and identify the driving forces at play in engineered microbial ecosystem.
Project description:Few studies have focused on the role of compatible solutes in changing the microbial community structure in bioaugmentation systems. In this study, we investigated the influence of trehalose as a biostimulant on the microbial community in tetrahydrofuran (THF)-treated wastewater bioaugmentation systems with Rhodococcus sp. YYL. Functional gene profile changes were used to study the variation in the microbial community. Soluble di-iron monooxygenases (SDIMO), particularly group-5 SDIMOs (i.e., tetrahydrofuran and propane monooxygenases), play a significant role in the initiation of the ring cleavage of tetrahydrofuran. Group-5 SDIMOs genes are enriched upon trehalose addition, and exogenous tetrahydrofuran monooxygenase (thmA) genes can successfully colonize bioaugmentation systems. Cytochrome P450 monooxygenases (P450s) have a significant role in catalyzing the region- and stereospecific oxidation of non-activated hydrocarbons, and THF was reported to inhibit P450s in the environment. The CYP153 family was chosen as a representative P450 to study the inhibitory effects of THF. The results demonstrated that CYP153 family genes exhibited significant changes upon THF treatment and that trehalose helped maintain a rich diversity and high abundance of CYP153 family genes. Biostimulation with trehalose could alleviate the negative effects of THF stress on microbial diversity in bioaugmentation systems. Our results indicated that trehalose as a compatible solute plays a significant role for environmental strains under extreme conditions.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The activated sludge process is one of the most widely used methods for treatment of wastewater and the microbial community composition in the sludge is important for the process operation. While the bacterial communities have been characterized in various activated sludge systems little is known about archaeal communities in activated sludge. The diversity and dynamics of the Archaea community in a full-scale activated sludge wastewater treatment plant were investigated by fluorescence in situ hybridization, terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis and cloning and sequencing of 16S rRNA genes. RESULTS: The Archaea community was dominated by Methanosaeta-like species. During a 15?month period major changes in the community composition were only observed twice despite seasonal variations in environmental and operating conditions. Water temperature appeared to be the process parameter that affected the community composition the most. Several terminal restriction fragments also showed strong correlations with sludge properties and effluent water properties. The Archaea were estimated to make up 1.6% of total cell numbers in the activated sludge and were present both as single cells and colonies of varying sizes. CONCLUSIONS: The results presented here show that Archaea can constitute a constant and integral part of the activated sludge and that it can therefore be useful to include Archaea in future studies of microbial communities in activated sludge.
Project description:In this study, the effects, fate and transport of ENPs in wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) were investigated using three parallel pilot WWTPs operated under identical conditions. The WWTPs were spiked with (i) an ENP mixture consisting of silver oxide, titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, and (ii) bulk metal salts. The third plant served as control (unspiked). ENP effects were evaluated for (i) bulk contaminant removal, (ii) activated sludge (AS) process performance, (iii) microbial community structure and dynamics and (iv) microbial inhibition. ENPs showed a strong affinity for biosolids and induced a specific oxygen uptake rate two times higher than the control. The heterotrophic biomass retained its ability to nitrify and degrade organic matter. However, non-recovery of ammonia- and nitrite-oxidizing bacteria such as Nitrosomonas, Nitrobacter or Nitrospira in the ENP spiked reactors suggests selective inhibitory effects. The results further suggest that ENPs and metal salts have antimicrobial properties which can reduce synthesis of extracellular polymeric substances and therefore floc formation. Scanning electron microscopy evidenced selective damage to some microbes, whereas lipid fingerprinting and 454 pyrosequencing indicated a temporal shift in the microbial community structure and diversity. Acidovorax, Rhodoferax, Comamonas and Methanosarcina were identified as nano-tolerant species. Competitive growth advantage of the nano-tolerant species influenced the removal processes and unlike other xenobiotic compounds, ENPs can hasten the natural selection of microbial species in AS.