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Impact of current density on the function and microbial community structure in electro-bioreactors

ElNaker, Nancy A., Hasan, Shadi W., Yousef, Ahmed F.
Journal of hazardous materials 2019 v.368 pp. 877-884
Nitrospiraceae, Rhodocyclaceae, bacterial communities, bioreactors, community structure, genes, high-throughput nucleotide sequencing, process control, ribosomal RNA, wastewater, wastewater treatment
The assessment of bacterial communities in wastewater electro-bioreactors has garnered attention to improve efficiency of wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) processes. This study evaluated the effects of applying different current densities on the function and microbial community structure of an electro-bioreactor by measuring nutrient removal efficiency and analyzing 16S rRNA gene high-throughput sequencing. The electro-bioreactors at current density of 3, 5 and 7 A/m2 resulted in an enrichment of operational taxonomic units belonging to distinct functional bacterial families such as (Nitrospiraceae: 8.5, 12.5 and 12.6% relative abundance, respectively) and (Rhodocyclaceae: 8.1, 8.8 and 9.7% relative abundance, respectively), leading to efficient N-removal (>98%) and P-removal (>98%) higher than the control bioreactor (9.6 and 5.0%, respectively). Applying different electric currents proved to affect microbial community composition in electro-bioreactors. The results reported here could prove to be valuable for process control, optimization and improving WWTPs design and operation.