Consortium diversity of a sulfate-reducing biofilm developed at acidic pH influent conditions in a down-flow fluidized bed reactor

Lilia Montoya, Lourdes B. Celis, Marisol Gallegos-García, Elías Razo-Flores, Ángel G. Alpuche-Solís
Eng. Life Sci. Vol.88, Pag.1672-1679, ISSN 1618-2863, , 2013.


Sulfate reduction is an appropriate approach for the treatment of effluents with sulfate and dissolved metals. In sulfate-reducing reactors, acetate may largely contribute to the residual organic matter, because not all sulfate reducers are able to couple the oxidation of acetate to the reduction of sulfate, limiting the treatment efficiency. In this study, we investigated the diversity of a bacterial community in the biofilm of a laboratory scale down-flow fluidized bed reactor, which was developed under sulfidogenic conditions at an influent pH between 4 and 6. The sequence analysis of the microbial community showed that the 16S rRNA gene sequence of almost 50% of the clones had a high similarity with Anaerolineaceae. At second place, 33% of the 16S rRNA phylotypes were affiliated with the sulfate-reducing bacteria Desulfobacca acetoxidans and Desulfatirhabdium butyrativorans, suggesting that acetotrophic sulfate reduction was occurring in the system. The remaining bacterial phylotypes were related to fermenting bacteria found at the advanced stage of reactor operation. The results indicate that the acetotrophic sulfate-reducing bacteria were able to remain within the biofilm, which is a significant result because few natural consortia harbor complete oxidizing sulfate-reducers, improving the acetate removal via sulfate reduction in the reactor.