Methylophilaceae and Hyphomicrobium as target taxonomic groups in monitoring the function of methanol-fed denitrification biofilters in municipal wastewater treatment plants

  • Antti J. Rissanen
  • Anne Ojala
  • Tommi Fred
  • Jyrki Toivonen
  • Marja Tiirola
Environmental Microbiology - Original Paper


Molecular monitoring of bacterial communities can explain and predict the stability of bioprocesses in varying physicochemical conditions. To study methanol-fed denitrification biofilters of municipal wastewater treatment plants, bacterial communities of two full-scale biofilters were compared through fingerprinting and sequencing of the 16S rRNA genes. Additionally, 16S rRNA gene fingerprinting was used for 10-week temporal monitoring of the bacterial community in one of the biofilters. Combining the data with previous study results, the family Methylophilaceae and genus Hyphomicrobium were determined as suitable target groups for monitoring. An increase in the relative abundance of Hyphomicrobium-related biomarkers occurred simultaneously with increases in water flow, NO x load, and methanol addition, as well as a higher denitrification rate, although the dominating biomarkers linked to Methylophilaceae showed an opposite pattern. The results indicate that during increased loading, stability of the bioprocess is maintained by selection of more efficient denitrifier populations, and this progress can be analyzed using simple molecular fingerprinting.


Methanol Denitrification Biofilter Hyphomicrobium Methylophilaceae 



We thank P. Lindholm, P. Lindell, L. Sundell, K. Murtonen, and M. Heinonen for technical assistance. We thank R. Kettunen for valuable comments on this manuscript. We also thank H. Devlin, B. Thamdrup, and S. Hallin for comments on the earlier version of this manuscript. This study was funded by Maa-ja Vesitekniikan Tuki ry for A.J.R and Academy of Finland (Projects 286642 and 140964 to A.J.R and 260797 to M.T.) as well as European Research Council (ERC) Consolidator Project 615146 to M.T.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10295_2016_1860_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (232 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 231 kb)


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Copyright information

© Society for Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Antti J. Rissanen
    • 1
    • 2
  • Anne Ojala
    • 3
    • 4
  • Tommi Fred
    • 5
  • Jyrki Toivonen
    • 6
  • Marja Tiirola
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Chemistry and BioengineeringTampere University of TechnologyTampereFinland
  2. 2.Department of Biological and Environmental ScienceUniversity of JyväskyläJyväskyläFinland
  3. 3.Department of Environmental SciencesUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland
  4. 4.Department of Forest SciencesUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland
  5. 5.Helsinki Region Environmental Services Authority HSYHelsinkiFinland
  6. 6.Salon VesiSaloFinland

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