Diversity of microbial communities in an attached-growth system using Bauxsol™ pellets for wastewater treatment

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Despland, LM, Vancov, T, Aragno, M & Clark, MW 2012, 'Diversity of microbial communities in an attached-growth system using Bauxsol™ pellets for wastewater treatment', Science of The Total Environment, vol. 433, pp. 383-389.

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Columns of Bauxsol™ pellets were used in a field experiment as biomass support particle for wastewater microbial communities. The attached microbial community structure was analysed using denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE), targeting the 16S rDNA gene's V3 region. DGGE profiles showed that the type and composition of support particles used (i.e. Bauxsol™ pellets or gravel) had a significant impact on the attached bacterial communities (64% dissimilarity). In addition, ecological indices revealed a more heterogeneous bacterial community structure on the Bauxsol™ pellets. TOC/TN ratios post-experiment (6.5–9.3) suggested a good level of biological activity (i.e. active biofilm) in the Bauxsol™ columns. Moreover, Bauxsol™ pellets were mostly made of inorganic carbon, suggesting insoluble carbonate biomineralisation. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification of specific marker genes (i.e. bacterial and archaeal amoA genes, nosZ gene, and hzo gene) were used to identify the presence of attached bacterial communities associated with nitrogen transformation. The results along with geochemical data (i.e. up to 50% nitrogen removal) revealed co-existence of ammonia-oxidising bacteria, denitrifiers, and anammox organisms. This study conclusively demonstrates that microbial communities are well-adapted to Bauxsol™ pellets and bacterial communities involved in the nitrogen cycle are present.

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