Failure of an enriched nitrite-DPAO population to use nitrate as an electron acceptor
The metabolism of denitrifying polyphosphate accumulating organisms (DPAO) is not completely known. Recent reports suggest the existence of two types of DPAOs: those that can use nitrate and nitrite as electron acceptors (nitrate-DPAO) and those that can only use nitrite (nitrite-DPAO). Then, the survival of nitrite-DPAO in nitrate reducing environments is due to the existence of flanking denitrifying species, which reduce nitrate to nitrite. This works aims at a better understanding of the nitrite-DPAO population. For this aim, a nitrite-DPAO population was previously selected in a SBR using nitrite as electron acceptor. Then, nitrate utilisation by nitrite-DPAO was studied within a short-term period (4 days) and within a long-term period (50 days) with simultaneous nitrite and nitrate additions. The results obtained clearly indicate that nitrite-DPAO fail to use nitrate as electron acceptor even after 50 days of periodic dosing of nitrate and agree with the dual DPAO theory. Moreover, this failure casts doubts on the feasibility of nitrite based EBPR systems (i.e. partial nitrification + nitrite-DPAO) because these systems will not be able to denitrify an occasional nitrate inlet, which will remain in the effluent.
Journal: Process Biochemistry - Volume 44, Issue 7, July 2009, Pages 689–695