Influence of season and plant species on the abundance and diversity of sulfate reducing bacteria and ammonia oxidizing bacteria in constructed wetland microcosms
Faulwetter, J. L.
Burr, Mark D.
Parker, Albert E.
Stein, Otto R.
Camper, Anne K.
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Constructed wetlands offer an effective means for treatment of wastewater from a variety of sources. An understanding of the microbial ecology controlling nitrogen, carbon and sulfur cycles in constructed wetlands has been identified as the greatest gap for optimizing performance of these promising treatment systems. It is suspected that operational factors such as plant types and hydraulic operation influence the subsurface wetland environment, especially redox, and that the observed variation in effluent quality is due to shifts in the microbial populations and/or their activity. This study investigated the biofilm associated sulfate reducing bacteria and ammonia oxidizing bacteria (using the dsrB and amoA genes, respectively) by examining a variety of surfaces within a model wetland (gravel, thick roots, fine roots, effluent), and the changes in activity (gene abundance) of these functional groups as influenced by plant species and season. Molecular techniques were used including quantitative PCR and denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE), both with and without propidium monoazide (PMA) treatment. PMA treatment is a method for excluding from further analysis those cells with compromised membranes. Rigorous statistical analysis showed an interaction between the abundance of these two functional groups with the type of plant and season (p<0.05). The richness of the sulfate reducing bacterial community, as indicated by DGGE profiles, increased in planted vs. unplanted microcosms. For ammonia oxidizing bacteria, season had the greatest impact on gene abundance and diversity (higher in summer than in winter). Overall, the primary influence of plant presence is believed to be related to root oxygen loss and its effect on rhizosphere redox.
Faulwetter JL, Burr MD, Parker AE, Stein OR, Camper AK, "Influence of season and plant species on the abundance and diversity of sulfate reducing bacteria and ammonia oxidizing bacteria in constructed wetland microcosms," Microbial Ecology, July 2013 65(1):111–127.