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Microbial Ecology

, Volume 61, Issue 3, pp 557–567 | Cite as

Diversity of Dominant Bacterial Taxa in Activated Sludge Promotes Functional Resistance following Toxic Shock Loading

  • Pascal E. Saikaly
  • Daniel B. Oerther
Environmental Microbiology

Abstract

Examining the relationship between biodiversity and functional stability (resistance and resilience) of activated sludge bacterial communities following disturbance is an important first step towards developing strategies for the design of robust biological wastewater treatment systems. This study investigates the relationship between functional resistance and biodiversity of dominant bacterial taxa by subjecting activated sludge samples, with different levels of biodiversity, to toxic shock loading with cupric sulfate (Cu[II]), 3,5-dichlorophenol (3,5-DCP), or 4-nitrophenol (4-NP). Respirometric batch experiments were performed to determine the functional resistance of activated sludge bacterial community to the three toxicants. Functional resistance was estimated as the 30 min IC50 or the concentration of toxicant that results in a 50% reduction in oxygen utilization rate compared to a referential state represented by a control receiving no toxicant. Biodiversity of dominant bacterial taxa was assessed using polymerase chain reaction-terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-T-RFLP) targeting the 16S ribosomal RNA (16S rRNA) gene. Statistical analysis of 30 min IC50 values and PCR-T-RFLP data showed a significant positive correlation (P < 0.05) between functional resistance and microbial diversity for each of the three toxicants tested. To our knowledge, this is the first study showing a positive correlation between biodiversity of dominant bacterial taxa in activated sludge and functional resistance. In this system, activated sludge bacterial communities with higher biodiversity are functionally more resistant to disturbance caused by toxic shock loading.

Keywords

Activate Sludge Terminal Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism Oxygen Uptake Rate Ammonia Oxidize Bacterium Solid Retention Time 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors thank Brian Kinkle, Bruce Rittmann, Makram Suidan, and Jim Young for useful discussion. Financial support from the National Science Foundation to Daniel B. Oerther (BES 0238858) is gratefully acknowledged.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Water Desalination and Reuse Research CenterKing Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST)ThuwalKingdom of Saudi Arabia
  2. 2.Division of Chemical and Life Sciences and EngineeringKing Abdullah University of Science and TechnologyThuwalSaudi Arabia
  3. 3.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringAmerican University of BeirutBeirutLebanon
  4. 4.Department of Civil, Architectural, and Environmental EngineeringMissouri University of Science and TechnologyRollaUSA
  5. 5.Environmental Research CenterMissouri University of Science and TechnologyRollaUSA

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