Microbial communities and metabolic pathways involved in reductive decolorization of an azo dye in a two-stage AD system

J M S Oliveira, J S Poulsen, E Foresti, J L Nielsen

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Multiple stage anaerobic system was found to be an effective strategy for reductive decolorization of azo dyes in the presence of sulfate. Bulk color removal (56-90%) was achieved concomitant with acidogenic activity in the 1st-stage reactor (R1), while organic matter removal (≤100%) and sulfate reduction (≤100%) occurred predominantly in the 2nd-stage reactor (R2). However, azo dye reduction mechanism and metabolic routes involved remain unclear. The involved microbial communities and conditions affecting the azo dye removal in a two-stage anaerobic digestion (AD) system were elucidated using amplicon sequencing (16S rRNA, fhs, dsrB and mcrA) and correlation analysis. Reductive decolorization was found to be co-metabolic and mainly associated with hydrogen-producing pathways. We also found evidence of the involvement of an azoreductase from Lactococcus lactis. Bacterial community in R1 was sensitive and shifted in the presence of the azo dye, while microorganisms in R2 were more protected. Higher diversity of syntrophic-acetate oxidizers, sulfate reducers and methanogens in R2 highlights the role of the 2nd-stage in organic matter and sulfate removals, and these communities might be involved in further transformations of the azo dye reduction products. The results improve our understanding on the role of different microbial communities in anaerobic treatment of azo dyes and can help in the design of better solutions for the treatment of textile effluents.

Original languageEnglish
Article number136731
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2022 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.


  • Amplicon sequencing
  • Biological wastewater treatment
  • Methanogens
  • Sulfate-reducing bacteria
  • Syntrophic acetate oxidation
  • Xenobiotics


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