Involvement of Rhodocyclus -Related Organisms in Phosphorus Removal in Full-Scale Wastewater Treatment Plants

Zilles et al. (2002). Applied and Environmental Microbiology 68 (6)
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Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology Biotechnology Ecology Food Science
ABSTRACT The participation of organisms related to Rhodocyclus in full-scale enhanced biological phosphorus removal (EBPR) was investigated. By using fluorescent in situ hybridization techniques, the communities of Rhodocyclus -related organisms in two full-scale wastewater treatment plants were estimated to represent between 13 and 18% of the total bacterial population. However, the fractions of these communities that participated in polyphosphate accumulation depended on the type of treatment process evaluated. In a University of Cape Town EBPR process, the percentage of Rhodocyclus -related cells that contained polyphosphate was about 20% of the total bacterial population, but these cells represented as much as 73% of the polyphosphate-accumulating organisms (PAOs). In an aerated-anoxic EBPR process, Rhodocyclus -related PAOs were less numerous, accounting for 6% of the total bacterial population and 26% of the total PAO population. In addition, 16S ribosomal DNA sequences 99.9% similar to the sequences of Rhodocyclus -related organisms enriched in acetate-fed bench-scale EBPR reactors were recovered from both full-scale plants. These results confirmed the involvement of Rhodocyclus -related organisms in EBPR and demonstrated their importance in full-scale processes. In addition, the results revealed a significant correlation between the type of EBPR process and the PAO community.
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