Mapping of Several Putative Polyphosphate-Accumulating Organisms

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Phosphate (P) is a vital resource, but it is limited in its natural occurrence so recycling will become important to support the increasing demand. By using the Enhanced Biological Phosphorus Removal (EBPR) process in wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs), recycling of P from the wastewater is one way to combat this challenge. The EBPR process is controlled by polyphosphate-accumulating organisms (PAOs), such as the Candidatus Accumulibacter, Tetrasphaera, and Dechloromonas genera, which all store P intracellularly, despite of diverse metabolisms, depending on alternating anaerobic and aerobic conditions.
New mass balance studies of biomass from full-scale plants with EBPR indicate that several unknown PAO exists, which may be important for the removal of P.
The aim was to investigate the ecophysiology of Rhodoferax, Tessaracoccus, and Sulfuritalea, to determine whether they are PAOs or not. We used 16S rRNA gene sequencing to find the abundance, metagenomics to retrieve high-quality metagenome assembled genomes (MAGs) for annotation of metabolic pathways, and quantitative FISH-Raman analysis of polyphosphate (polyP) and other intracellular storage polymers to verify hypotheses.
Rhodoferax and Sulfuritalea were observed in both Danish and global plants with up to 5.8% and 2.3% of total biomass, respectively. Tessaracoccus was found to contribute up to 2.6% in Danish plants. FISH-Raman analysis of Tessaracoccus and Rhodoferax showed signs of polyP. The chance of these two being PAOs was further supported by the retrieved MAGs, which showed the present of Pit, PstSCAB, and PhoU.
By elucidating the ecophysiology of the remaining PAOs that contribute to phosphorus removal, we can enable surveillance and better control of the plants.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date15 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2021
EventDanish Microbiological Society congress 2021 - Marmorhallen, Frederiksberg, Copenhagen, Denmark
Duration: 15 Nov 202115 Nov 2021


ConferenceDanish Microbiological Society congress 2021
LocationMarmorhallen, Frederiksberg
Internet address


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