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Water Res. 2003 May;37(9):2195-205.

Microbial communities in activated sludge performing enhanced biological phosphorus removal in a sequencing batch reactor.

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Department of Chemical Engineering, School of Environmental Science and Engineering, Pohang University of Science and Technology, Biotechnology Lab, San 31, Hyoja-dong, Nam-gu, Kyoungbuk, South Korea.


Microbial communities of activated sludge in an anaerobic/aerobic sequencing batch reactor (SBR) supplied with acetate as sole carbon source were analyzed to identify the microorganisms responsible for enhanced biological phosphorus removal. Various analytical methods were used such as electron microscopy, quinone, slot hybridization, and 16S rRNA gene sequencing analyses. Electron photomicrographs showed that coccus-shaped microorganisms of about 1 microm diameter dominated the microbial communities of the activated sludge in the SBR, which had been operated for more than 18 months. These microorganisms contained polyphosphate granules and glycogen inclusions, which suggests that they are a type of phosphorus-accumulating organism. Quinones, slot hybridization, and 16S rRNA sequencing analyses showed that the members of the Proteobacteria beta subclass were the most abundant species and were affiliated with the Rhodocyclus-like group. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that the two dominating clones of the beta subclass were closely related to the Rhodocyclus-like group. It was concluded that the coccus-shaped organisms related to the Rhodocyclus-like group within the Proteobacteria beta subclass were the most dominant species believed responsible for biological phosphorus removal in SBR operation with acetate.

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