Characterization of an Autotrophic Nitrogen-Removing Biofilm from a Highly Loaded Lab-Scale Rotating Biological Contactor

Pynaert, Kris, Smets, Barth F., Wyffels, Stijn, Beheydt, Daan, Siciliano, Steven D. and Verstraete, Willy (2003) Characterization of an Autotrophic Nitrogen-Removing Biofilm from a Highly Loaded Lab-Scale Rotating Biological Contactor. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 69 6: 3626-3635. doi:10.1128/AEM.69.6.3626-3635.2003

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Author Pynaert, Kris
Smets, Barth F.
Wyffels, Stijn
Beheydt, Daan
Siciliano, Steven D.
Verstraete, Willy
Title Characterization of an Autotrophic Nitrogen-Removing Biofilm from a Highly Loaded Lab-Scale Rotating Biological Contactor
Journal name Applied and Environmental Microbiology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0099-2240
Publication date 2003-06
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1128/AEM.69.6.3626-3635.2003
Open Access Status File (Publisher version)
Volume 69
Issue 6
Start page 3626
End page 3635
Total pages 10
Place of publication Washington, D.C.
Publisher American Society for Microbiology
Language eng
Subject 090703 Environmental Technologies
Abstract In this study, a lab-scale rotating biological contactor (RBC) treating a synthetic NH4+ wastewater devoid of organic carbon and showing high N losses was examined for several important physiological and microbial characteristics. The RBC biofilm removed 89% ± 5% of the influent N at the highest surface load of approximately 8.3 g of N m-2 day-1, with N2 as the main end product. In batch tests, the RBC biomass showed good aerobic and anoxic ammonium oxidation (147.8 ± 7.6 and 76.5 ± 6.4 mg of NH4+-N g of volatile suspended solids [VSS]-1 day-1, respectively) and almost no nitrite oxidation (< 1 mg of N g of VSS-1 day-1). The diversity of aerobic ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AAOB) and planctomycetes in the biofilm was characterized by cloning and sequencing of PCR-amplified partial 16S rRNA genes. Phylogenetic analysis of the clones revealed that the AAOB community was fairly homogeneous and was dominated by Nitrosomonas-like species. Close relatives of the known anaerobic ammonia-oxidizing bacterium (AnAOB) Kuenenia stuttgartiensis dominated the planctomycete community and were most probably responsible for anoxic ammonium oxidation in the RBC. Use of a less specific planctomycete primer set, not amplifying the AnAOB, showed a high diversity among other planctomycetes, with representatives of all known groups present in the biofilm. The spatial organization of the biofilm was characterized using fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) with confocal scanning laser microscopy (CSLM). The latter showed that AAOB occurred side by side with putative AnAOB (cells hybridizing with probe PLA46 and AMX820/KST1275) throughout the biofilm, while other planctomycetes hybridizing with probe PLA886 (not detecting the known AnAOB) were present as very conspicuous spherical structures. This study reveals that long-term operation of a lab-scale RBC on a synthetic NH4+ wastewater devoid of organic carbon yields a stable biofilm in which two bacterial groups, thought to be jointly responsible for the high autotrophic N removal, occur side by side throughout the biofilm.
Keyword Microbiology
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Unknown

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) - Collection
Advanced Water Management Centre Publications
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Created: Mon, 16 Feb 2009, 10:09:48 EST by Ms Karen Naughton on behalf of Advanced Water Management Centre