Microbial phylogenetic and functional responses within acidified wastewater communities exhibiting enhanced phosphate uptake

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Acid stimulated accumulation of insoluble phosphorus within microbial cells is highly beneficial to wastewater treatment but remains largely unexplored. Using single cell analyses and next generation sequencing, the response of active polyphosphate accumulating microbial communities under conditions of enhanced phosphorus uptake under both acidic and aerobic conditions was characterised. Phosphorus accumulation activities were highest under acidic conditions (pH 5.5 > 8.5), where a significant positive effect on bioaccumulation was observed at pH 5.5 when compared to pH 8.5. In contrast to the Betaproteobacteria and Actinobacteria dominated enhanced biological phosphorus removal process, the functionally active polyP accumulators at pH 5.5 belonged to the Gammaproteobacteria, with key accumulators identified as members of the families Aeromonadaceae and Enterobacteriaceae. This study demonstrated a significant enrichment of key polyphosphate kinase and exopolyphosphatase genes within the community metagenome after acidification, concomitant with an increase in P accumulation kinetics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-61
Number of pages7
JournalBioresource Technology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2016


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