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Microb Ecol. 2002 Oct;44(3):278-85. Epub 2002 Sep 12.

Presence of anaerobic bacteroides in aerobically grown microbial granules.

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Environmental Engineering Research Center, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, Blk. N1, 50 Nanyang Avenue, 639798, Singapore.


Microbial granules were grown in a column-type sequential aerobic sludge blanket reactor inoculated with activated sludge flocs taken from a wastewater treatment plant and containing a medium with glucose as the main carbon source. The reactor selected for granules that could settle rapidly by employing a short settling time of 2 min. Matured granules with diameters between 2 and 3 micro m were examined for anaerobic bacteria as their presence can signal the onset of diffusion limitation problems that can potentially diminish granule stability due to the bacterial production of fermentation gases and organic acids under anaerobic conditions. To detect the anaerobes in the granules, clones were constructed from 16S rRNA PCR amplicons. Two sequence types associated with a strict anaerobe Bacteroides spp. were identified from these clones. Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) followed by confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) demonstrated that cells of Bacteroides spp. were concentrated at a depth of approximately 800 micro m below the surface of the granule. Cell enumeration using flow cytometry showed that the percentage of labeled cells of Bacteroides spp. compared to total bacterial cells in the granules was 0.56%. This is the first study to use a suite of culture-independent techniques to report the presence of a defined species of anaerobic bacteria in aerobically grown microbial granules.

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