Immobilization patterns and dynamics of acetate-utilizing methanogens immobilized in sterile granular sludge in upflow anaerobic sludge blanket reactors.
Sterile granular sludge was inoculated with either Methanosarcina mazeii S-6, Methanosaeta concilii GP-6, or both species in acetate-fed upflow anaerobic sludge blanket (UASB) reactors to investigate the immobilization patterns and dynamics of aceticlastic methanogens in granular sludge. After several months of reactor operation, the methanogens were immobilized, either separately or together. The fastest immobilization was observed in the reactor containing M. mazeii S-6. The highest effluent concentration of acetate was observed in the reactor with only M. mazeii S-6 immobilized, while the lowest effluent concentration of acetate was observed in the reactor where both types of methanogens were immobilized together. No changes were observed in the kinetic parameters (Ks and mumax) of immobilized M. concilii GP-6 or M. mazeii S-6 compared with suspended cultures, indicating that immobilization does not affect the growth kinetics of these methanogens. An enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay using polyclonal antibodies against either M. concilii GP-6 or M. mazeii S-6 showed significant variations in the two methanogenic populations in the different reactors. Polyclonal antibodies were further used to study the spatial distribution of the two methanogens. M. concilii GP-6 was immobilized only on existing support material without any specific pattern. M. mazeii S-6, however, showed a different immobilization pattern: large clumps were formed when the concentration of acetate was high, but where the acetate concentration was low this strain was immobilized on support material as single cells or small clumps. The data clearly show that the two aceticlastic methanogens immobilize differently in UASB systems, depending on the conditions found throughout the UASB reactor. (+info)
Anaerobic degradation of phthalate isomers by methanogenic consortia.
Three methanogenic enrichment cultures, grown on ortho-phthalate, iso-phthalate, or terephthalate were obtained from digested sewage sludge or methanogenic granular sludge. Cultures grown on one of the phthalate isomers were not capable of degrading the other phthalate isomers. All three cultures had the ability to degrade benzoate. Maximum specific growth rates (microseconds max) and biomass yields (YXtotS) of the mixed cultures were determined by using both the phthalate isomers and benzoate as substrates. Comparable values for these parameters were found for all three cultures. Values for microseconds max and YXtotS were higher for growth on benzoate compared to the phthalate isomers. Based on measured and estimated values for the microbial yield of the methanogens in the mixed culture, specific yields for the phthalate and benzoate fermenting organisms were calculated. A kinetic model, involving three microbial species, was developed to predict intermediate acetate and hydrogen accumulation and the final production of methane. Values for the ratio of the concentrations of methanogenic organisms, versus the phthalate isomer and benzoate fermenting organisms, and apparent half-saturation constants (KS) for the methanogens were calculated. By using this combination of measured and estimated parameter values, a reasonable description of intermediate accumulation and methane formation was obtained, with the initial concentration of phthalate fermenting organisms being the only variable. The energetic efficiency for growth of the fermenting organisms on the phthalate isomers was calculated to be significantly smaller than for growth on benzoate. (+info)
Identification of a novel group of bacteria in sludge from a deteriorated biological phosphorus removal reactor.
The microbial diversity of a deteriorated biological phosphorus removal reactor was investigated by methods not requiring direct cultivation. The reactor was fed with media containing acetate and high levels of phosphate (P/C weight ratio, 8:100) but failed to completely remove phosphate in the effluent and showed very limited biological phosphorus removal activity. Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) of PCR-amplified 16S ribosomal DNA was used to investigate the bacterial diversity. Up to 11 DGGE bands representing at least 11 different sequence types were observed; DNA from the 6 most dominant of these bands was further isolated and sequenced. Comparative phylogenetic analysis of the partial 16S rRNA sequences suggested that one sequence type was affiliated with the alpha subclass of the Proteobacteria, one was associated with the Legionella group of the gamma subclass of the Proteobacteria, and the remaining four formed a novel group of the gamma subclass of the Proteobacteria with no close relationship to any previously described species. The novel group represented approximately 75% of the PCR-amplified DNA, based on the DGGE band intensities. Two oligonucleotide rRNA probes for this novel group were designed and used in a whole-cell hybridization analysis to investigate the abundance of this novel group in situ. The bacteria were coccoid and 3 to 4 microm in diameter and represented approximately 35% of the total population, suggesting a relatively close agreement with the results obtained by the PCR-based DGGE method. Further, based on electron microscopy and standard staining microscopic analysis, this novel group was able to accumulate granule inclusions, possibly consisting of polyhydroxyalkanoate, inside the cells. (+info)
Fluorescence in situ hybridization using 16S rRNA-targeted oligonucleotides reveals localization of methanogens and selected uncultured bacteria in mesophilic and thermophilic sludge granules.
16S rRNA-targeted in situ hybridization combined with confocal laser scanning microscopy was used to elucidate the spatial distribution of microbes within two types of methanogenic granular sludge, mesophilic (35 degrees C) and thermophilic (55 degrees C), in upflow anaerobic sludge blanket reactors fed with sucrose-, acetate-, and propionate-based artificial wastewater. The spatial organization of the microbes was visualized in thin sections of the granules by using fluorescent oligonucleotide probes specific to several phylogenetic groups of microbes. In situ hybridization with archaeal- and bacterial-domain probes within granule sections clearly showed that both mesophilic and thermophilic granules had layered structures and that the outer layer harbored mainly bacterial cells while the inner layer consisted mainly of archaeal cells. Methanosaeta-, Methanobacterium-, Methanospirillum-, and Methanosarcina-like cells were detected with oligonucleotide probes specific for the different groups of methanogens, and they were found to be localized inside the granules, in both types of which dominant methanogens were members of the genus Methanosaeta. For specific detection of bacteria which were previously detected by whole-microbial-community 16S ribosomal DNA (rDNA)-cloning analysis (Y. Sekiguchi, Y. Kamagata, K. Syutsubo, A. Ohashi, H. Harada, and K. Nakamura, Microbiology 144:2655-2665, 1998) we designed probes specific for clonal 16S rDNAs related to unidentified green nonsulfur bacteria and clones related to Syntrophobacter species. The probe designed for the cluster closely related to Syntrophobacter species hybridized with coccoid cells in the inner layer of the mesophilic granule sections. The probe for the unidentified bacteria which were clustered with the green nonsulfur bacteria detected filamentous cells in the outermost layer of the thermophilic sludge granule sections. These results revealed the spatial organizations of methanogens and uncultivated bacteria and their in situ morphologies and metabolic functions in both mesophilic and thermophilic granular sludges. (+info)
Combination of fluorescent in situ hybridization and microautoradiography-a new tool for structure-function analyses in microbial ecology.
A new microscopic method for simultaneously determining in situ the identities, activities, and specific substrate uptake profiles of individual bacterial cells within complex microbial communities was developed by combining fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) performed with rRNA-targeted oligonucleotide probes and microautoradiography. This method was evaluated by using defined artificial mixtures of Escherichia coli and Herpetosiphon aurantiacus under aerobic incubation conditions with added [3H]glucose. Subsequently, we were able to demonstrate the potential of this method by visualizing the uptake of organic and inorganic radiolabeled substrates ([14C]acetate, [14C]butyrate, [14C]bicarbonate, and 33Pi) in probe-defined populations from complex activated sludge microbial communities by using aerobic incubation conditions and anaerobic incubation conditions (with and without nitrate). For both defined cell mixtures and activated sludge, the method proved to be useful for simultaneous identification and analysis of the uptake of labeled substrates under the different experimental conditions used. Optimal results were obtained when fluorescently labeled oligonucleotides were applied prior to the microautoradiographic developing procedure. For single-cell resolution of FISH and microautoradiographic signals within activated sludge flocs, cryosectioned sample material was examined with a confocal laser scanning microscope. The combination of in situ rRNA hybridization techniques, cryosectioning, microautoradiography, and confocal laser scanning microscopy provides a unique opportunity for obtaining cultivation-independent insights into the structure and function of bacterial communities. (+info)
Water pollution and human health in China.
China's extraordinary economic growth, industrialization, and urbanization, coupled with inadequate investment in basic water supply and treatment infrastructure, have resulted in widespread water pollution. In China today approximately 700 million people--over half the population--consume drinking water contaminated with levels of animal and human excreta that exceed maximum permissible levels by as much as 86% in rural areas and 28% in urban areas. By the year 2000, the volume of wastewater produced could double from 1990 levels to almost 78 billion tons. These are alarming trends with potentially serious consequences for human health. This paper reviews and analyzes recent Chinese reports on public health and water resources to shed light on what recent trends imply for China's environmental risk transition. This paper has two major conclusions. First, the critical deficits in basic water supply and sewage treatment infrastructure have increased the risk of exposure to infectious and parasitic disease and to a growing volume of industrial chemicals, heavy metals, and algal toxins. Second, the lack of coordination between environmental and public health objectives, a complex and fragmented system to manage water resources, and the general treatment of water as a common property resource mean that the water quality and quantity problems observed as well as the health threats identified are likely to become more acute. (+info)
Detection of small numbers of Campylobacter jejuni and Campylobacter coli cells in environmental water, sewage, and food samples by a seminested PCR assay.
A rapid and sensitive assay was developed for detection of small numbers of Campylobacter jejuni and Campylobacter coli cells in environmental water, sewage, and food samples. Water and sewage samples were filtered, and the filters were enriched overnight in a nonselective medium. The enrichment cultures were prepared for PCR by a rapid and simple procedure consisting of centrifugation, proteinase K treatment, and boiling. A seminested PCR based on specific amplification of the intergenic sequence between the two Campylobacter flagellin genes, flaA and flaB, was performed, and the PCR products were visualized by agarose gel electrophoresis. The assay allowed us to detect 3 to 15 CFU of C. jejuni per 100 ml in water samples containing a background flora consisting of up to 8, 700 heterotrophic organisms per ml and 10,000 CFU of coliform bacteria per 100 ml. Dilution of the enriched cultures 1:10 with sterile broth prior to the PCR was sometimes necessary to obtain positive results. The assay was also conducted with food samples analyzed with or without overnight enrichment. As few as +info)
PCR detection of genes encoding nitrite reductase in denitrifying bacteria.
Using consensus regions in gene sequences encoding the two forms of nitrite reductase (Nir), a key enzyme in the denitrification pathway, we designed two sets of PCR primers to amplify cd1- and Cu-nir. The primers were evaluated by screening defined denitrifying strains, denitrifying isolates from wastewater treatment plants, and extracts from activated sludge. Sequence relationships of nir genes were also established. The cd1 primers were designed to amplify a 778 to 799-bp region of cd1-nir in the six published sequences. Likewise, the Cu primers amplified a 473-bp region in seven of the eight published Cu-nir sequences. Together, the two sets of PCR primers amplified nir genes in nine species within four genera, as well as in four of the seven sludge isolates. The primers did not amplify genes of nondenitrifying strains. The Cu primers amplified the expected fragment in all 13 sludge samples, but cd1-nir fragments were only obtained in five samples. PCR products of the expected sizes were verified as nir genes after hybridization to DNA probes, except in one case. The sequenced nir fragments were related to other nir sequences, demonstrating that the primers amplified the correct gene. The selected primer sites for Cu-nir were conserved, while broad-range primers targeting conserved regions of cd1-nir seem to be difficult to find. We also report on the existence of Cu-nir in Paracoccus denitrificans Pd1222. (+info)