Bacterial enrichment in highly-selective acetate-fed bioreactors and its application in rapid biofilm formation

Haohao Sun, Ran Mei, Xu Xiang Zhang, Hongqiang Ren, Wen Tso Liu, Lin Ye

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this study, we systematically investigated the bacterial community dynamics in highly-selective (strong hydraulic selection pressure and high organic loading rate) bioreactors with acetate as the sole carbon source. 16S rRNA gene high-throughput sequencing and metagenomic sequencing results showed that phenolics-degrading bacteria (PDB), which were mainly Acinetobacter species, in the newly-formed aerobic granules could account for >70% of the total bacteria. Near full-length 16S rRNA gene sequences obtained by cloning suggest that the PDB are potentially novel species because they are distantly related to known Acinetobacter species. However, these PDB only temporarily appeared in the early stage of the granule formation and their abundance quickly decreased along the reactor operation. To retain these PDB, we demonstrated that the newly-formed aerobic granules could accelerate biofilm formation in moving bed biofilm reactors (MBBRs), and the biofilm carriers showed gradually-increased phenol degradation performance in the MBBRs. While, the bacterial community in biofilm significantly changed during the operation process of the MBBRs and the community structure became more complicated than that in the aerobic granules. Collectively, this study provides new insights into the microbial ecology of sludge granulation and biofilm formation process in the wastewater treatment systems for remediating phenolic matters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number115359
JournalWater Research
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Aerobic granular sludge
  • Biological wastewater treatment
  • Metagenomics
  • Moving-bed biofilm reactor
  • Phenolics-degrading bacteria

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Ecological Modeling
  • Pollution
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Civil and Structural Engineering


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