Prevalence of ‘Candidatus Accumulibacter phosphatis’ type II under phosphate limiting conditions

L. Welles, C. M. Lopez-Vazquez, C. M. Hooijmans, M. C M van Loosdrecht, D. Brdjanovic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)
28 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

P-limitation in enhanced biological phosphorus removal (EBPR) systems fed with acetate, has generally been considered as a condition leading to enrichment of organisms of the genotype’ Candidatus Competibacter phosphatis’ expressing the glycogen-accumulating organisms (GAO) phenotype. Recent studies have demonstrated in short-term experiments that organisms of the genotype ‘Candidatus Accumulibacter phosphatis’ clade I and II, known to express the polyphosphate-accumulating organisms (PAO) phenotype can switch to the GAO phenotype when poly-P is absent, but are performing the HAc-uptake at lower kinetic rates, where clade I showed the lowest rates. The objective of this study was to verify whether organisms of the genotype ‘Candidatus Accumulibacter phosphatis’ can also be enriched under P-limiting conditions while expressing a GAO phenotype and more specifically to see which specific clade prevails. A sequencing batch reactor was inoculated with activated sludge to enrich an EBPR culture for a cultivation period of 128 days (16 times the solids retention time) under P-limiting conditions. A mixed culture was obtained comprising of 49 % ‘Candidatus Accumulibacter phosphatis’ clade II and 46 % ‘Candidatus Competibacter phosphatis’. The culture performed a full GAO metabolism for anaerobic HAc-uptake, but was still able to switch to a PAO metabolism, taking up excessive amounts of phosphate during the aerobic phase when it became available in the influent. These findings show that P-limitation, often used as strategy for enrichment of ‘Candidatus Competibacter phosphatis’, does not always lead to enrichment of only ‘Candidatus Competibacter phosphatis’. Furthermore, it demonstrates that ‘Candidatus Accumulibacter phosphatis’ are able to proliferate in activated sludge systems for periods of up to 128 days or longer when the influent phosphate concentrations are just enough for assimilation purposes and no poly-P is formed. The ‘Candidatus Accumulibacter phosphatis’ retain the ability to switch to the PAO phenotype, taking up phosphate from the influent as soon as it becomes available.

Original languageEnglish
Article number44
JournalAMB Express
Volume6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Keywords

  • Enhanced biological phosphate removal (EBPR)
  • Glycogen-accumulating organisms (GAO)
  • Microbial ecology
  • Niche differentiation
  • Polyphosphate content
  • Polyphosphate-accumulating organisms (PAO)
  • ‘Candidatus Accumulibacter phosphatis’
  • ‘Candidatus Competibacter phosphatis’

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