Analysis of the microbial community structure and function of a laboratory scale enhanced biological phosphorus removal reactor

Caterina Levantesi, Luísa S. Serafim, Gregory R. Crocetti, Paulo C. Lemos, Simona Rossetti, Linda L. Blackall, Maria A. M. Reis, Valter Tandoi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

54 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A laboratory scale sequencing batch reactor (SBR) operating for enhanced biological phosphorus removal (EBPR) and fed with a mixture of volatile fatty acids (VFAs) showed stable and efficient EBPR capacity over a four-year-period. Phosphorus (P), poly-β-hydroxyalkanoate (PHA) and glycogen cycling consistent with classical anaerobic/aerobic EBPR were demonstrated with the order of anaerobic VFA uptake being propionate, acetate then butyrate. The SBR was operated without pH control and 63.67 ± 13.86 mg P I-1 was released anaerobically. The P% of the sludge fluctuated between 6% and 10% over the operating period (average of 8.04 ± 1.31%). Four main morphological types of floc-forming bacteria were observed in the sludge during one year of intensive microscopic observation. Two of them were mainly responsible for anaerobic/aerobic P and PHA transformations. Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) and post-FISH chemical staining for intracellular polyphosphate and PHA were used to determine that 'Candidatus Accumulibacter phosphatis' was the most abundant polyphosphate accumulating organism (PAO), forming large clusters of coccobacilli (1.0-1.5 μm) and comprising 53% of the sludge bacteria. Also by these methods, large coccobacillus-shaped gammaproteobacteria (2.5-3.5 μm) from a recently described novel cluster were glycogen-accumulating organisms (GAOs) comprising 13% of the bacteria. Tetrad-forming organisms (TFOs) consistent with the 'G bacterium' morphotype were alphaproteobacteria, but not Amaricoccus spp., and comprised 25% of all bacteria. According to chemical staining, TFOs were occasionally able to store PHA anaerobically and utilize it aerobically.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)559-569
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental Microbiology
Volume4
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2002

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