Effects of ammonia nitrogen and organic carbon availability on microbial community structure and ecological interactions in a full-scale partial nitritation and anammox (PN/A) system

Lijun Yang, Hong Yao, Fangxu Jia, Baohong Han, Yao Chen, Jie Jiang, Tao Liu, Jianhua Guo

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Nutrient availability significantly impacts microbial biosynthesis, cell growth, and cell cycle progression. In this study, a full-scale plug-flow partial nitritation/anammox (PN/A) system was used to investigate variations in the microbial community structure in both immobilized carriers and flocs, as well as a gradual decrease in nutrient availability from upstream to downstream. We found that reduced ammonia nitrogen (from 150.4 to 30.6 mg/L) and organic carbon (from 415.7 to 342.8 mg/L) availability significantly lowered microbial diversity and altered microbial communities in biofilms other than flocs from upstream to downstream. The abundance of all anammox bacteria increased by 1.97 times, from 3.25 × 1010 to 6.40 × 1010 copies per gram of wet sludge, in the biofilm core microbiome. Furthermore, from upstream to downstream, taxa with lower ribosomal RNA operon copy numbers were consistently enriched in both biofilm and floc communities, indicating that slow-growing microorganisms are more likely to be enriched in low-nutrient environments. Rare taxa with a relative abundance of less than 0.1% exhibited unique metabolic functions, including amino acid, carbohydrate, cofactor, and vitamin metabolisms, which was inferred by PICRUST2 and persisted across the nutrient gradient in both the biofilm and floc communities. Despite their low abundance, they may play important roles in mediating the stability and function of the PN/A system. Overall, the results demonstrate the impact of a naturally formed ammonia nitrogen and organic carbon gradient in a full-scale plug-flow PN/A installation on nutrient availability and its effects on microbial diversity, community composition, and microbial interactions, which expands our fundamental understanding of this energy-efficient and promising biotechnology for treating high-strength ammonium wastewater.

Original languageEnglish
Article number120524
JournalWater Research
Volume244
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2023
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Anammox
  • nutrient availability
  • partial nitritation and anammox
  • rare taxa
  • ribosomal RNA operon

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Ecological Modelling
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution

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