Temperature modulates stress response in mainstream anammox reactors

Robert Niederdorfer*, Damian Hausherr, Alejandro Palomo, Jing Wei, Paul Magyar, Barth F. Smets, Adriano Joss, Helmut Bürgmann

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Autotrophic nitrogen removal by anaerobic ammonium oxidizing (anammox) bacteria is an energy-efficient nitrogen removal process in wastewater treatment. However, full-scale deployment under mainstream conditions remains challenging for practitioners due to the high stress susceptibility of anammox bacteria towards fluctuations in dissolved oxygen (DO) and temperature. Here, we investigated the response of microbial biofilms with verified anammox activity to DO shocks under 20 °C and 14 °C. While pulse disturbances of 0.3 mg L-1 DO prompted only moderate declines in the NH4+ removal rates, 1.0 mg L-1 DO led to complete but reversible inhibition of the NH4+ removal activity in all reactors. Genome-centric metagenomics and metatranscriptomics were used to investigate the stress response on various biological levels. We show that temperature regime and strength of DO perturbations induced divergent responses from the process level down to the transcriptional profile of individual taxa. Community-wide gene expression differed significantly depending on the temperature regime in all reactors, and we found a noticeable impact of DO disturbances on genes involved in transcription, translation, replication and posttranslational modification at 20 °C but not 14 °C. Genome-centric analysis revealed that different anammox species and other key biofilm taxa differed in their transcriptional responses to distinct temperature regimes and DO disturbances.

Original languageEnglish
Article number23
JournalCommunications Biology
Issue number1
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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