Speculation on the Identity of Bacteria Named TFOs Occurring in the Inefficient P-Removal Phase of a Biological Phosphorus Removal System

  • Lee, Young-Ok (Department of Biological Science, Daegu University) ;
  • Ahn, Chang-Hoon (Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Wisconsin) ;
  • Park, Jae-Kwang (Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Wisconsin)
  • Published : 2010.03.31


To better understand the ecology of tetrade forming organisms (TFOs) floating in a large amount of dairy wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) effluent (sequencing batch reactor [SBR]) during the inefficient phosphorus (P) removal process of an enhanced biological P removal system, the TFOs from the effluent of a full scale WWTP were separated and attempts made to culture the TFOs in presence/absence of oxygen. The intact TFOs only grew aerobically in the form of unicellular short-rods. Furthermore, to identify the intact TFOs and unicellular short-rods the DNAs of both were extracted, analyzed using their denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE)-profiles and then sequenced. The TFOs and unicellular short-rods exhibited the same banding pattern in their DGGE-profiles, and those sequencing data resulted in their identification as Acinetobacter sp. The intact TFOs appeared in clumps and packages of tetrade cells, and were identified as Acinetobacter sp., which are known as strict aerobes and efficient P-removers. The thick layer of extracellular polymeric substance surrounding Acinetobacter sp. may inhibit phosphate uptake, and the cell morphology of TFOs might subsequently be connected with their survival strategy under the anaerobic regime of the SBR system.



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