Sulfide-oxidizing activity and bacterial community structure in a fluidized bed reactor from a zero-discharge mariculture system

Eddie Cytryn, Dror Minz, Ilya Gelfand, Amir Neori, Armin Gieseke, Dirk De Beer, Jaap Van Rijn

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In the present work we describe a comprehensive analysis of sulfide oxidation in a fluidized bed reactor (FBR) from an environmentally sustainable, zero-discharge mariculture system. The FBR received oxygen-depleted effluent from a digestion basin (DB) that is responsible for gasification of organic matter and nitrogen. The FBR is a crucial component in this recirculating system because it safeguards the fish from the toxic sulfide produced in the DB. Microscale sulfide oxidation potential and bacterial community composition within FBR biofilms were correlated to biofilter performance by integrating bulk chemical, microsensor (O2, pH, and H2S), and molecular microbial community analyses. The FBR consistently oxidized sulfide during two years of continuous operation, with an estimated average sulfide removal rate of 1.3 g of sulfide-S LFBR-1 d-1. Maximum sulfide oxidation rates within the FBR biofilms were 0.36 and 0.21 mg of sulfide-S cm-3 h-1 in the oxic and anoxic layers, respectively, indicating that both oxygen and nitrate serve as electron acceptors for sulfide oxidation. The estimated anoxic sulfide removal rate, as extrapolated from bench scale, autotrophic, nitrate-amended experiments, was 0.7 g of sulfide-S L FBR-1 d-1, which is approximately 50% of the total estimated sulfide removal in the FBR. Community composition analyses using denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) of bacterial 16S rRNA gene fragments from FBR samples taken at six-month intervals revealed several sequences that were closely affiliated with sulfide-oxidizing bacteria. These included the denitrifying, sulfide-oxidizing bacteria Thiomicrospira denitrificans, members of the filamentous Thiothrix genus, and sulfide-oxidizing symbionts from the Gammaproteobacteria. In addition, marine Alphaproteobacteria and Bacteroidetes species were present in all of the DGGE profiles examined. DGGE analyses showed significant shifts in the bacterial community composition between profiles over two years of sampling, indicating the presence of a diverse and dynamic microbial community within the functionally stable FBR. The FBR's combined capacity for both oxic and anoxic sulfide oxidation, as indicated by bulk chemical, microsensor, and molecular microbial analyses, gives it significant functional elasticity, which is crucial for proper performance in the dynamic environment of this mariculture system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1802-1810
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 15 Mar 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry


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