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Biotechnol Bioeng. 2006 Jul 5;94(4):762-72.

Community structures and activities of nitrifying and denitrifying bacteria in industrial wastewater-treating biofilms.

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Department of Environmental and Civil Engineering, Hachinohe Institute of Technology, Hachinohe, Aomori, Japan.


The bacterial community structure, in situ spatial distributions and activities of nitrifying and denitrifying bacteria in biofilms treating industrial wastewater were investigated by combination of the 16S rRNA gene clone analysis, fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) and microelectrodes. These results were compared with the nitrogen removal capacity of the industrial wastewater treatment plant (IWTP). Both nitrification and denitrification occurred in the primary denitrification (PD) tank and denitrification occurred in the secondary denitrification (SD) tank. In contrast, nitrification and denitrification rates were very low in the nitrification (N) tank. 16S rRNA gene clone sequence analysis revealed that the bacteria affiliated with Alphaproteobacteria, followed by Betaproteobacteria, were numerically important microbial groups in three tanks. The many clones affiliated with Alphaproteobacteria were closely related to the denitrifying bacteria (e.g., Hyphomicrobium spp., Rhodopseudomonas palustris, and Rhodobacter spp.). In addition, Methylophilus leisingeri affiliated with Betaproteobacteria, which favorably utilized methanol, was detected only in the SD-tank to which methanol was added. Nitrosomonas europaea and Nitrosomonas marina were detected as the ammonia-oxidizing bacteria affiliated with Betaproteobacteria throughout this plant, although the dominant species of them was different among three tanks. Nitrifying bacteria were mainly detected in the upper parts of the PD-biofilm whereas their populations were low in the upper parts of the N-biofilm. The presence of denitrifying bacteria affiliated with Hyphomicrobium spp. in SD- and N-biofilms was verified by FISH analysis. Microelectrode measurements showed that the nitrifying bacteria present in the N- and PD-biofilms were active and the bacteria present in the SD-biofilm could denitrify.

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