Study of microbial community structures in UASB sludge treating municipal wastewater by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis of 16S rDNA

Research paper by Ying Zhang, Sunny Aiyuk, Hui Xu, Guanxiong Chen, Willy Verstraete

Indexed on: 01 Jan '05Published on: 01 Jan '05Published in: Science in China. Series C, Life sciences / Chinese Academy of Sciences


The structures of microbial communities in lab-scale upflow anaerobic sludge blanket (UASB) reactors for treating municipal wastewater with different ratios of CODsoluble/ CODtotal were studied using denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) of 16S rRNA genes. The microbial structure of the inoculum sludge obtained from a full-scale UASB reactor of treating potato processing wastewater was compared with the structures of sludges collected from three lab-scale UASB reactors after eight months feeding with raw municipal wastewater, with CEPS (chemically enhanced primary sedimentation) pretreated municipal wastewater, and with a synthetic municipal sewage, respectively. Computer-aided numerical analysis of the DGGE fingerprints showed that the bacterial community underwent major changes. The sludges for treating raw and CEPS pretreated wastewater had very similar bacterial and archaeal communities (82% and 96% similarity) but were different from that for treating the synthetic sewage. Hence, despite similar % COD in the particulate form in the synthetic and the real wastewater, the two wastewaters were selected for different microbial communities. Prominent DGGE bands of Bacteria and Archaea were purified and sequenced. The 16S rRNA gene sequences of the dominant archaeal bands found in the inoculum, and UASB sludge fed with raw sewage, CEPS pretreated wastewater, and synthetic sewage were closely associated withMethanosaeta concilii. In the UASB sludge fed with synthetic sewage, another dominant band associated with an uncultured archaeon 39-2 was found together withM. concilii.

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