Dominance of Candidatus saccharibacteria in SBRs achieving partial denitrification: effects of sludge acclimating methods on microbial communities and nitrite accumulation
Partial denitrification (NO3−-N → NO2−-N) was combined with anaerobic ammonium oxidation (ANAMMOX) to achieve nitrogen removal with a low C/N ratio and low energy consumption. Three different acclimation conditions, namely, R1 (sequencing batch reactor (SBR) under anoxic conditions), R2 (SBR under alternating anoxic/aerobic conditions), and R3 (SBR under low-intensity aeration), were investigated using glucose as an electron donor to achieve continuous accumulation of nitrite during a 120 d run. Subsequently, the denitrification performance and microbial community structure of the sludge were investigated. The results showed that the acclimatized sludge in reactors R2 and R3 achieved better partial denitrification performance than the sludge in R1 due to the presence of dissolved oxygen as a result of aeration. Notably, the R3 reactor had the optimal conditions for nitrite accumulation. The high-throughput sequencing analysis indicated that the dominant bacteria in R2 and R3 were Candidatus saccharibacteria with a relative abundance of 45.44% and 34.96%, respectively. This was the first time that Candidatus saccharibacteria was reported as the dominant bacteria in denitrifying sludge. The microbial diversity of the R1 reactor was much greater than that of R2 and R3, indicating that a larger proportion of denitrifying bacteria were present in the R2 and R3 reactors. In addition, the batch experiments showed that the higher the initial pH, the higher the nitrite accumulation rate was.