Metaproteomics provides functional insight into activated sludge wastewater treatment

Paul Wilmes, Margaret Wexler, Philip L. Bond

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

128 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Through identification of highly expressed proteins from a mixed culture activated sludge system this study provides functional evidence of microbial transformations important for enhanced biological phosphorus removal (EBPR). Methodology/Principal Findings: A laboratory-scale sequencing batch reactor was successfully operated for different levels of EBPR, removing around 25, 40 and 55 mg/l P. The microbial communities were dominated by the uncultured polyphosphate-accumutating organism "Candidatus Accumulibacter phosphatis". When EBPR failed, the sludge was dominated by tetrad-forming a-Proteobacterio. Representative and reproducible 2D gel protein separations were obtained for all sludge samples. 638 protein spots were matched across gels generated from the phosphate removing sludges. 111 of these were excised and 46 proteins were identified using recently available sludge metagenomic sequences. Many of these closely match proteins from "Candidatus Accumulibacter phosphatis" and could be directly linked to the EBPR process. They included enzymes involved inenergy generation, polyhydroxyalkanoate synthesis, glycolysis, gluconeogenesis, glycogen synthesis, glyoxylate/ TCA cycle, fatty acid ß oxidation, fatty acid synthesis and phosphate transport. Several proteins involved in cellular stress response were detected. Conclusions/Significance: Importantly, this study provides direct evidence linking the metabolic activities of "Accumulibacter" to the chemical transformations observed in EBPR. Finally, the results are discussed in relation to current EBPR metabolic models.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1778
JournalPLoS One
Volume3
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 12 Mar 2008

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