Nitrate levels modulate the abundance of Paracoccus sp. in a biofilm community


Conditions required to enhance a particular species efficient in degradative capabilities is very useful in wastewater treatment processes. Paracoccus sp. is known to efficiently reduce nitrogen oxides (NOx) due to the branched denitrification pathway. Individual-based simulations showed that the relative fitness of Paracoccus sp. to Pseudomonas sp. increased significantly with nitrate levels above 5 mM. Spatial structure of the biofilm showed substantially less nitrite levels in the areas of Paracoccus sp. dominance. The simulation was validated in a laboratory reactor harboring biofilm community by fluorescent in situ hybridization, which showed that increasing nitrate levels enhanced the abundance of Paracoccus sp. Different levels of NOx did not display any significant effect on biofilm formation of Paracoccus sp., unlike several other bacteria. This study shows that the attribute of Paracoccus sp. to tolerate and efficiently reduce NOx is conferring a fitness payoff to the organism at high concentrations of nitrate in a multispecies biofilm community.

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The authors would like to thank J-U Kreft and Rob Clegg, Univ. of Birmingham for help in troubleshooting iDynoMICS. Namrata Acharya, M. S Univ. for assisting in FISH experiments is acknowledged. The work was supported by Prof. T. R. Rajagopalan fund, SASTRA University.

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Correspondence to C. S. Srinandan.

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Singh, S., Nerurkar, A.S. & Srinandan, C.S. Nitrate levels modulate the abundance of Paracoccus sp. in a biofilm community. World J Microbiol Biotechnol 31, 951–958 (2015).

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  • Denitrification
  • Nitrate removal
  • Biofilm community
  • Paracoccus
  • Pseudomonas