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Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 63, Issue 3, pp 322–334 | Cite as

Sulfate-reducing bacterial community structure and their contribution to carbon mineralization in a wastewater biofilm growing under microaerophilic conditions

  • S. OkabeEmail author
  • T. Ito
  • H. Satoh
Original Paper

Abstract

The community structure of sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB) and the contribution of SRB to carbon mineralization in a wastewater biofilm growing under microaerophilic conditions were investigated by combining molecular techniques, molybdate inhibition batch experiments, and microelectrode measurements. A 16S rDNA clone library of bacteria populations was constructed from the biofilm sample. The 102 clones analyzed were grouped into 53 operational taxonomic units (OTUs), where the clone distribution was as follows: Cytophaga-Flexibacter-Bacteroides (41%), Proteobacteria (41%), low-G+C Gram-positive bacteria (18%), and other phyla (3%). Three additional bacterial clone libraries were also constructed from SRB enrichment cultures with propionate, acetate, and H2 as electron donors to further investigate the differences in SRB community structure due to amendments of different carbon sources. These libraries revealed that SRB clones were phylogenetically diverse and affiliated with six major SRB genera in the delta-subclass of the Proteobacteria. Fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) analysis revealed that Desulfobulbus and Desulfonema were the most abundant SRB species in this biofilm, and this higher abundance (ca. 2–4×109 cells cm–3 and 5×107 filaments cm–3, respectively) was detected in the surface of the biofilm. Microelectrode measurements showed that a high sulfate-reducing activity was localized in a narrow zone located just below the oxic/anoxic interface when the biofilm was cultured in a synthetic medium with acetate as the sole carbon source. In contrast, a broad sulfate-reducing zone was found in the entire anoxic strata when the biofilm was cultured in the supernatant of the primary settling tank effluent. This is probably because organic carbon sources diffused into the biofilm from the bulk water and an unknown amount of volatile fatty acids was produced in the biofilm. A combined approach of molecular techniques and batch experiments with a specific inhibitor (molybdate) clearly demonstrated that Desulfobulbus is a numerically important member of SRB populations and the main contributor to the oxidation of propionate to acetate in this biofilm. However, acetate was preferentially utilized by nitrate-reducing bacteria but not by acetate-utilizing SRB.

Keywords

Sulfate Reduction Desulfovibrio Acid Volatile Sulfide Sulfate Reduction Rate Microaerophilic Condition 
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

Acknowledgements

This study was carried out as part of "The Project for Development of Technologies for Analyzing and Controlling the Mechanism of Biodegrading and Processing", which was initiated by the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO). This research was also partly supported by Grant-in Aid (No.13650593) for Developmental Scientific Research from the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture of Japan.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Urban and Environmental Engineering, Graduate School of EngineeringHokkaido University Kita-kuJapan
  2. 2.Department of Civil Engineering, Faculty of EngineeringHachinohe Institute of TechnologyMyo, HachinoheJapan

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