Anaerobic ammon ium oxidizing (anammox) bacteria oxidize ammonium and reduce nitrite, producing N2, and could play a major role in energy-optimized wastewater treatment. However, sensitivity to various environmental conditions and slow growth currently hinder their wide application. Here, we attempted to determine online the effect of environmental stresses on anammox bacteria by using an overnight batch activity test with whole cells, in which anammox activity was calculated by quantifying N2 production via headspace-pressure monitoring. A planktonic mixed culture dominated by “Candidatus Kuenenia stuttgartiensis” strain CSTR1 was cultivated in a 30-L semi-continuous stirring tank reactor. In overnight resting-cell anammox activity tests, oxygen caused strong inhibition of anammox activity, which was reversed by sodium sulfite (30 µM). The tested antibiotics sulfamethoxazole, kanamycin, and ciprofloxacin elicited their effect on a dose-dependent manner; however, strain CSTR1 was highly resistant to sulfamethoxazole. Anammox activity was improved by activated carbon and Fe2O3. Protein expression analysis from resting cells after anammox activity stimulation revealed that NapC/NirT family cytochrome c (KsCSTR_12840), hydrazine synthase, hydrazine dehydrogenase, hydroxylamine oxidase, and nitrate:nitrite oxidoreductase were upregulated, while a putative hydroxylamine oxidoreductase HAO (KsCSTR_49490) was downregulated. These findings contribute to the growing knowledge on anammox bacteria physiology, eventually leading to the control of anammox bacteria growth and activity in real-world application.
• Sulfite additions can reverse oxygen inhibition of the anammox process
• Anammox activity was improved by activated carbon and ferric oxide
• Sulfamethoxazole marginally affected anammox activity
Many biotechnological applications deal with nitrification, one of the main steps of the global nitrogen cycle. The biological oxidation of ammonia to nitrite and further to nitrate is critical to avoid environmental damage and its functioning has to be retained even under adverse conditions. Bacteria performing the second reaction, oxidation of nitrite to nitrate, are fastidious microorganisms that are highly sensitive against disturbances. One important finding with relevance for nitrogen removal systems was the discovery of the mainly cold-adapted Cand. Nitrotoga, whose activity seems to be essential for the recovery of nitrite oxidation in wastewater treatment plants at low temperatures, e.g., during cold seasons. Several new strains of this genus have been recently described and ecophysiologically characterized including genome analyses. With increasing diversity, also mesophilic Cand. Nitrotoga representatives have been detected in activated sludge. This review summarizes the natural distribution and driving forces defining niche separation in artificial nitrification systems. Further critical aspects for the competition with Nitrospira and Nitrobacter are discussed. Knowledge about the physiological capacities and limits of Cand. Nitrotoga can help to define physico-chemical parameters for example in reactor systems that need to be run at low temperatures.
• Characterization of the psychrotolerant nitrite oxidizer Cand. Nitrotoga
• Comparison of the physiological features of Cand. Nitrotoga with those of other NOB
• Identification of beneficial environmental/operational parameters for proliferation
Nonulosonic acids (NulOs) are a family of acidic carbohydrates with a nine-carbon backbone, which include different related structures, such as sialic acids. They have mainly been studied for their relevance in animal cells and pathogenic bacteria. Recently, sialic acids have been discovered as an important compound in the extracellular matrix of virtually all microbial life and in “Candidatus Accumulibacter phosphatis”, a well-studied polyphosphate-accumulating organism, in particular. Here, bioaggregates highly enriched with these bacteria (approx. 95% based on proteomic data) were used to study the production of NulOs in an enrichment of this microorganism. Fluorescence lectin-binding analysis, enzymatic quantification, and mass spectrometry were used to analyze the different NulOs present, showing a wide distribution and variety of these carbohydrates, such as sialic acids and bacterial NulOs, in the bioaggregates. Phylogenetic analysis confirmed the potential of “Ca. Accumulibacter” to produce different types of NulOs. Proteomic analysis showed the ability of “Ca. Accumulibacter” to reutilize and reincorporate these carbohydrates. This investigation points out the importance of diverse NulOs in non-pathogenic bacteria, which are normally overlooked. Sialic acids and other NulOs should be further investigated for their role in the ecology of “Ca. Accumulibacter” in particular, and biofilms in general.
•“Ca. Accumulibacter” has the potential to produce a range of nonulosonic acids.
•Mass spectrometry and lectin binding can reveal the presence and location of nonulosonic acids.
•The role of nonulosonic acid in non-pathogenic bacteria needs to be studied in detail.
Candidatus Accumulibacter phosphatis is an important microorganism for enhanced biological phosphorus removal (EBPR). In a previous study, we found a remarkable flexibility regarding salinity, since this same microorganism could thrive in both freshwater- and seawater-based environments, but the mechanism for the tolerance to saline conditions remained unknown. Here, we identified and described the role of trehalose as an osmolyte in Ca. Accumulibacter phosphatis. A freshwater-adapted culture was exposed to a single batch cycle of hyperosmotic and hypo-osmotic shock, which led to the release of trehalose up to 5.34 mg trehalose/g volatile suspended solids (VSS). Long-term adaptation to 30% seawater-based medium in a sequencing batch reactor (SBR) gave a stable operation with complete anaerobic uptake of acetate and propionate along with phosphate release of 0.73 Pmol/Cmol, and complete aerobic uptake of phosphate. Microbial analysis showed Ca. Accumulibacter phosphatis clade I as the dominant organism in both the freshwater- and seawater-adapted cultures (> 90% presence). Exposure of the seawater-adapted culture to a single batch cycle of hyperosmotic incubation and hypo-osmotic shock led to an increase in trehalose release upon hypo-osmotic shock when higher salinity is used for the hyperosmotic incubation. Maximum trehalose release upon hypo-osmotic shock was achieved after hyperosmotic incubation with 3× salinity increase relative to the salinity in the SBR adaptation reactor, resulting in the release of 11.9 mg trehalose/g VSS. Genome analysis shows the possibility of Ca. Accumulibacter phosphatis to convert glycogen into trehalose by the presence of treX, treY, and treZ genes. Addition of trehalose to the reactor led to its consumption, both during anaerobic and aerobic phases. These results indicate the flexibility of the metabolism of Ca. Accumulibacter phosphatis towards variations in salinity.
• Trehalose is identified as an osmolyte in Candidatus Accumulibacter phosphatis.
• Ca. Accumulibacter phosphatis can convert glycogen into trehalose.
• Ca. Accumulibacter phosphatis clade I is present and active in both seawater and freshwater.