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      Microbial structures, functions, and metabolic pathways in wastewater treatment bioreactors revealed using high-throughput sequencing.

      Environmental Science & Technology

      metabolism, Archaea, genetics, Bacteria, Biodiversity, Bioreactors, microbiology, DNA, Archaeal, DNA, Bacterial, Genes, Bacterial, instrumentation, High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing, methods, Metabolic Networks and Pathways, Phylogeny, Reproducibility of Results, Sequence Analysis, DNA, Sewage, Waste Water, Water Purification, Ammonia

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          The objective of this study was to explore microbial community structures, functional profiles, and metabolic pathways in a lab-scale and a full-scale wastewater treatment bioreactors. In order to do this, over 12 gigabases of metagenomic sequence data and 600,000 paired-end sequences of bacterial 16S rRNA gene were generated with the Illumina HiSeq 2000 platform, using DNA extracted from activated sludge in the two bioreactors. Three kinds of sequences (16S rRNA gene amplicons, 16S rRNA gene sequences obtained from metagenomic sequencing, and predicted proteins) were used to conduct taxonomic assignments. Specially, relative abundances of ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA) and ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB) were analyzed. Compared with quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR), metagenomic sequencing was demonstrated to be a better approach to quantify AOA and AOB in activated sludge samples. It was found that AOB were more abundant than AOA in both reactors. Furthermore, the analysis of the metabolic profiles indicated that the overall patterns of metabolic pathways in the two reactors were quite similar (73.3% of functions shared). However, for some pathways (such as carbohydrate metabolism and membrane transport), the two reactors differed in the number of pathway-specific genes.

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