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Evaluation of dairy processing wastewater biotreatment in an IASBR system: Aeration rate impacts on performance and microbial ecology

Gil-Pulido, Beatriz, Tarpey, Emma, Almeida, Eduardo L., Finnegan, William, Zhan, Xinmin, Dobson, Alan D.W., O’Leary, Niall
Biotechnology reports 2018 v.19 pp. e00263
Comamonadaceae, DNA, aeration, ammonium, biomass, biotechnology, chemical oxygen demand, cost effectiveness, dairies, genes, microbial ecology, models, nitrogen, orthophosphates, phosphorus, remediation, ribosomal RNA, sequence analysis, wastewater
Dairy processing generates large volumes of wastewater that require extensive nutrient remediation prior to discharge. Significant commercial opportunities exist therefore for cost-effective biotechnologies capable of achieving this requirement. In this study the authors evaluated the use of intermittently aerated sequencing batch reactors, (IASBRs), as a single-tank biotreatment system for co-removal of COD, nitrogen and phosphorus from synthetic dairy processing wastewater. Variation of the IASBR aeration rates, (0.8, 0.6 and 0.4 L/min), had significant impacts on the respective nutrient removal efficiencies and underlying microbial diversity profiles. Aeration at 0.6 L/min was most effective and resulted in >90% co-removal of orthophosphate and ammonium. 16S rRNA based pyrosequencing of biomass DNA samples revealed the family Comamonadaceae was notably enriched (>80% relative abundance) under these conditions. In silico predictive metabolic modelling also identified Comamonadaceae as the major contributor of several known genes for nitrogen and phosphorus assimilation (nirK, nosZ, norB, ppK, ppX and phbC).