“Candidatus Propionivibrio aalborgensis”: A Novel Glycogen Accumulating Organism Abundant in Full-Scale Enhanced Biological Phosphorus Removal Plants

Mads Albertsen, Simon Jon McIlroy, Mikkel Stokholm-Bjerregaard, Søren Michael Karst, Per Halkjær Nielsen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

Enhanced biological phosphorus removal (EBPR) is widely used to remove phosphorus from wastewater. The process relies on polyphosphate accumulating organisms (PAOs) that are able to take up phosphorus in excess of what is needed for growth, whereby phosphorus can be removed from the wastewater by wasting the biomass. However, glycogen accumulating organisms (GAOs) may reduce the EBPR efficiency as they compete for substrates with PAOs, but do not store excessive amounts of polyphosphate. PAOs and GAOs are thought to be phylogenetically unrelated, with the model PAO being the betaproteobacterial “Candidatus Accumulibacter phosphatis” (Accumulibacter) and the model GAO being the gammaproteobacterial “Candidatus Competibacter phosphatis”. Here, we report the discovery of a GAO from the genus Propionivibrio, which is closely related to Accumulibacter. Propionivibrio sp. are targeted by the canonical fluorescence in situ hybridization probes used to target Accumulibacter (PAOmix), but do not store excessive amounts of polyphosphate in situ. A laboratory scale reactor, operated to enrich for PAOs, surprisingly contained co- dominant populations of Propionivibrio and Accumulibacter. Metagenomic sequencing of multiple time-points enabled recovery of near complete population genomes from both genera. Annotation of the Propionivibrio genome confirmed their potential for the GAO phenotype and a basic metabolic model is proposed for their metabolism in the EBPR environment. Using newly designed fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) probes, analyses of full-scale EBPR plants revealed that Propionivibrio is a common member of the community, constituting up to 3% of the biovolume. To avoid overestimation of Accumulibacter abundance in situ, we recommend the use of the FISH probe
Original languageEnglish
Article number1033
JournalFrontiers in Microbiology
Volume7
ISSN1664-302X
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jul 2016

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