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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2001 Jul;67(7):3226-35.

Microbial populations associated with treatment of an industrial dye effluent in an anaerobic baffled reactor.

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  • 1Department of Chemical Engineering and Chemical Technology, Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, London SW7 2BY, United Kingdom.


Fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) using 16S and 23S rRNA-targeted probes together with construction of an archaeal 16S ribosomal DNA (rDNA) clone library was used to characterize the microbial populations of an anaerobic baffled reactor successfully treating industrial dye waste. Wastewater produced during the manufacture of food dyes containing several different azo and other dye compounds was decolorized and degraded under sulfidogenic and methanogenic conditions. Use of molecular methods to describe microbial populations showed that a diverse group of Bacteria and Archaea was involved in this treatment process. FISH enumeration showed that members of the gamma subclass of the class Proteobacteria and bacteria in the Cytophaga-Flexibacter-Bacteroides phylum, together with sulfate-reducing bacteria, were prominent members of a mixed bacterial population. A combination of FISH probing and analysis of 98 archaeal 16S rDNA clone inserts revealed that together with the bacterial population, a methanogenic population dominated by Methanosaeta species and containing species of Methanobacterium and Methanospirillum and a relatively unstudied methanogen, Methanomethylovorans hollandica, contributed to successful anaerobic treatment of the industrial waste. We suggest that sulfate reducers, or more accurately sulfidogenic bacteria, together with M. hollandica contribute considerably to the treatment process through metabolism of dye-associated sulfonate groups and subsequent conversion of sulfur compounds to carbon dioxide and methane.

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