Structure and Functional Analysis of the Microbial Community in an Aerobic: Anaerobic Sequencing Batch Reactor (SBR) with no Phosphorus Removal Academic Article uri icon


  • The bacterial community of an aerobic:anaerobic non-P removing SBR biomass fed a mixture of acetate and glucose was analysed using several 16S rRNA based methods. Populations responsible for anaerobic glucose and acetate assimilation were determined with fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) in combination with microautoradiography (FISH/MAR). At 'steady state' this community consisted of alpha-Proteobacteria (26%) and gamma-Proteobacteria (14%), mainly appearing as large cocci in tetrads (i.e. typical 'G-Bacteria'). Large numbers of low G+C bacteria (22%), and high G+C Gram-positive bacteria (29%) seen as small cocci in clusters or in sheets were also detected after FISH. DGGE fingerprinting of PCR amplified 16S rDNA fragments and subsequent cloning and sequencing of several of the major bands led to the identification of some of these populations. They included an organism 98% similar in its 16S rRNA sequence to Micropruina glycogenica, and ca. 76% of the high G+C bacteria responded to a probe MIC 184, designed against it. The rest responded to the KSB 531 probe designed against a high G+C clone sequence, sbr-gs28 reported in other similar systems. FISH analyses showed that both these high G+C populations were almost totally dominated by small clustered cocci. Only ca. 2% of cells were beta-Proteobacteria. None of the alpha- and gamma-Proteobacterial 'G-bacteria' responded to FISH probes designed for the 'G-Bacteria' Amaricoccus spp. or Defluvicoccus vanus. FISH/MAR revealed that not all the alpha-Proteobacterial 'G-Bacteria' could take up acetate or glucose anaerobically. Almost all of the gamma-Proteobacterial 'G-Bacteria' assimilated acetate anaerobically but not glucose, the low G+C clustered cocci only took up glucose, whereas the high G+C bacteria including M. glycogenica and the sbr-gs28 clone assimilated both acetate and glucose. All bacteria other than the low G+C small cocci and a few of the alpha-Proteobacteria accumulated PHB. The low G+C bacteria showing anaerobic glucose assimilation ability were considered responsible for the lactic acid produced anaerobically by this SBR biomass, and M. glycogenica for its high glycogen content.

publication date

  • January 2001