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Quantification of Microthrix pavicella and Gordonia species using Quantitative Real-time PCR (qPCR) in Submerged Membrane Bioreactors for Municipal Wastewater Treatment

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The objective of this study was to develop and apply a quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) method to quantify key foam-causing filamentous bacteria M. parvicella and Gordonia spp. Simultaneously. Without using pure cultures, the proposed method was able to achieve high specificity to 16S rRNA genes of both target bacteria and a wide dynamic range (0.001-50%) of their relative gene copy numbers to Eubacteria (total bacteria). It was then used to examine the growth of these foaming bacteria in two submerged membrane bioreactors (SMBR) operated at a same hydraulic retention time (HRT) of 4h and a sludge retention time (SRT) of 8 and 25 d, respectively. It was found that 1) SMBR tended to have sever foaming problems at a fairly low relative amount of filamentous bacteria in mixed liquor; 2) a longer SRT facilitated the growth of filamentous bacteria and caused their enrichment in the scum layer due to low F/M ratio; 3) the growth of M. parvicella and Gordonia spp. was sensitive to the variation in influent temperature while less impact was exerted by COD and MLSS; 4) foaming bacteria experienced seasonal shift: M. parvicella was the dominant filamentous bacteria in spring while Gordonia spp. in summer.
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Keywords: Gordonia; M. parvicella; SMBR; Wastewater; foaming; qPCR

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2010-01-01

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