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Characteristics of bacterial populations in an industrial scale petrochemical wastewater treatment plant: Composition, function and their association with environmental factors

Qinghong Wang, Jiahao Liang, Simin Zhang, Brandon A. Yoza, Qing X. Li, Yali Zhan, Huangfan Ye, Peng Zhao, Chunmao Chen
Environmental research 2020 v.189 pp. 109939
Acidobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Chloroflexi, Planctomycetes, Proteobacteria, acidification, activated sludge, bacterial communities, biochemical oxygen demand, biochemical pathways, biofilters, biological treatment, caprolactam, community structure, hydrolysis, naphthalene, petroleum, phylogeny, research, toluene, total nitrogen, variance, wastewater, wastewater treatment
The efficiency of petrochemical wastewater biological treatment is dependent upon complex bacterial communities. A well understanding of the structure and function of bacterial community and their association with environmental variables is essential for the elucidation of contaminant removal mechanisms and optimization of wastewater treatment processes. In this study, the bacterial communities and metabolic functions in the primary hydrolysis acidification unit (PHAU), cyclic activated sludge system (CASS), secondary hydrolysis acidification unit (SHAU), and biological aerated filter (BAF) of a petrochemical wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) were studied via Illumina high-throughput sequencing. The correlations between bacterial community and environmental variables were also investigated. The phylum Proteobacteria, Planctomycetes, Chloroflexi, Acidobacteria and Bacteroidetes were dominant in the petroleum WWTP. The bacterial communities varied with wastewater characteristics and operational parameters, as a result of the differences in biosystems functions. Phylogenetic analysis showed that the genes involved in the degradation of benzoate, nitrotoluene and aminobenzoate degradation were abundant in PHAU, and the genes related to the degradation of benzoate, aminobenzoate, chloroalkane, chloroalkene, caprolactam, naphthalene and toluene were abundant in CASS, SHAU and BAF. The Redundancy analysis (RDA) suggested that biochemical oxygen demand (BOD₅), NH₄⁺-N and total nitrogen concentrations exhibited significant impacts in shaping the structure of bacterial community. Variance partitioning analysis (VPA) showed that 18.6% of the community variance was related to wastewater characteristics, higher than operational parameters of 4.5%. These results provide insight into microbial community structure and metabolic function during petrochemical wastewater treatment, and discern the relationships between bacterial community and environmental variables, which can provide basic data and a theoretical analysis of the design and operation optimization in petrochemical WWTP.