Abstract

We studied the microbial community structure of pilot two-stage membrane biofilm reactors (MBfRs) designed to reduce nitrate (NO3 -) and perchlorate (ClO4 -) in contaminated groundwater. The groundwater also contained oxygen (O2) and sulfate (SO 4 2-), which became important electron sinks that affected the NO3 - and ClO4 - removal rates. Using pyrosequencing, we elucidated how important phylotypes of each "primary" microbial group, i.e., denitrifying bacteria (DB), perchlorate-reducing bacteria (PRB), and sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB), responded to changes in electron-acceptor loading. UniFrac, principal coordinate analysis (PCoA), and diversity analyses documented that the microbial community of biofilms sampled when the MBfRs had a high acceptor loading were phylogenetically distant from and less diverse than the microbial community of biofilm samples with lower acceptor loadings. Diminished acceptor loading led to SO4 2- reduction in the lag MBfR, which allowed Desulfovibrionales (an SRB) and Thiothrichales (sulfur-oxidizers) to thrive through S cycling. As a result of this cooperative relationship, they competed effectively with DB/PRB phylotypes such as Xanthomonadales and Rhodobacterales. Thus, pyrosequencing illustrated that while DB, PRB, and SRB responded predictably to changes in acceptor loading, a decrease in total acceptor loading led to important shifts within the "primary" groups, the onset of other members (e.g., Thiothrichales), and overall greater diversity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7511-7518
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Volume48
Issue number13
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2014

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Biofilms
biofilm
microbial community
Bacteria
perchlorate
membrane
Membranes
bacterium
sulfate-reducing bacterium
Sulfates
electron
groundwater
Groundwater
reactor
analysis
community structure
Electrons
sulfur
sulfate
nitrate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry

Cite this

Pyrosequencing analysis yields comprehensive assessment of microbial communities in pilot-scale two-stage membrane biofilm reactors. / Ontiveros-Valencia, Aura; Tang, Youneng; Zhao, He Ping; Friese, David; Overstreet, Ryan; Smith, Jennifer; Evans, Patrick; Rittmann, Bruce; Krajmalnik-Brown, Rosa.

In: Environmental Science and Technology, Vol. 48, No. 13, 01.07.2014, p. 7511-7518.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Ontiveros-Valencia, Aura ; Tang, Youneng ; Zhao, He Ping ; Friese, David ; Overstreet, Ryan ; Smith, Jennifer ; Evans, Patrick ; Rittmann, Bruce ; Krajmalnik-Brown, Rosa. / Pyrosequencing analysis yields comprehensive assessment of microbial communities in pilot-scale two-stage membrane biofilm reactors. In: Environmental Science and Technology. 2014 ; Vol. 48, No. 13. pp. 7511-7518.
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