A community of microbial predators influences the composition of the bacterial community in wastewater. This explains the seasonal differences in the microbial community that affect the efficiency of water treatment. This is the result of the study conducted by Nils Heck and PD Dr. Kenneth Dumack from the University of Cologne’s Institute of Zoology. The study was published, under the title “Microeukaryotic predators shape the wastewater microbiome,” in the journal Water Research.
In wastewater treatment plants, a precisely coordinated interaction of different microorganisms takes place to effectively treat the waste. However, a large part of the microorganisms involved in water treatment are still unknown. In addition to the beneficial bacteria responsible for cleaning up waste, many of their predators are also found in bioreactors. However, little is known so far about whether and to what extent these predators influence wastewater treatment.
Since the introduction of wastewater treatment plants, it has been known that the seasons influence the bacterial community in the wastewater, and thus the efficiency of water treatment. But why is this? After all, bacteria do not have an inbuilt sense of time.
This question is not important, because the weather changes are the result of different factors. The most known factors are temperature and light conditions. However, the chemical composition of the waste, the amount of rain and many other factors also vary with changes throughout the year.
So which of these factors cause the bacterial community to change over time? PD Dr. Kenneth Dumack, the leader of the study, explained, “We found that seasonal changes in ambient temperature could not explain the change in the bacterial community. This surprised us, so we looked for something else that could explain the change in bacteria. .community.”
Nils Heck, the first author of the study, added, “We found that the community of microbial predators, such as amoebae, ciliates and also rotifers, can explain the composition of the bacterial community to a certain extent. These predators instead depends on the temperature of the environment. Therefore, the temperature factor represents the indirect influence of the bacteria through the community of predators.”
The new findings contribute to a better understanding of the so-called “black box” of wastewater treatment to avoid, among other things, the health risks that may arise from improper treatment of wastewater .
Nils Heck et al, Microeukaryotic predators shape the wastewater microbiome, Water Research (2023). DOI: 10.1016/j.waters.2023.120293
Provided by the University of Cologne
Citation: Microbial predators cause seasonal fluctuations in wastewater treatment, study shows (2023, July 10) retrieved 11 July 2023 from https://phys.org/news/2023-07-microbial-predators-seasonal-fluctuations -wastewater.html
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