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Microb Ecol. 2011 Nov;62(4):776-88. doi: 10.1007/s00248-011-9893-9. Epub 2011 Jun 25.

Archaeal amoA genes outnumber bacterial amoA genes in municipal wastewater treatment plants in Bangkok.

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  • 1National Center of Excellence for Environmental and Hazardous Waste Management, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand.


The contribution of ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA) to nitrogen removal in wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) remains unknown. This study investigated the abundance of archaeal (AOA) and bacterial (ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB)) amoA genes in eight of Bangkok's municipal WWTPs. AOA amoA genes (3.28 × 10(7) ± 1.74 × 10(7)-2.23 × 10(11) ± 1.92 × 10(11) copies l(-1) sludge) outnumbered AOB amoA genes in most of the WWTPs even though the plants' treatment processes, influent and effluent characteristics, removal efficiencies, and operation varied. An estimation of the ammonia-oxidizing activity of AOA and AOB suggests that AOA involved in autotrophic ammonia oxidation in the WWTPs. Statistical analysis shows that the numbers of AOA amoA genes correlated negatively to the ammonium levels in effluent wastewater, while no correlation was found between the AOA amoA gene numbers and the oxygen concentrations in aeration tanks. An analysis of the AOB sequences shows that AOB found in the WWTPs limited to only two AOB clusters which exhibit high or moderate affinity to ammonia. In contrast to AOB, AOA sequences of various clusters were retrieved, and they were previously recovered from a variety of environments, such as thermal and marine environments.

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