Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, Vol.105, No.2, 853-867, 2021
Tropical and temperate wastewater treatment plants assemble different and diverse microbiomes
The diversity and assembly of activated sludge microbiomes play a key role in the performances of municipal wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs), which are the most widely applied biotechnological process systems. In this study, we investigated the microbiomes of municipal WWTPs in Bangkok, Wuhan, and Beijing that respectively represent tropical, subtropical, and temperate climate regions, and also explored how microbiomes assembled in these municipal WWTPs. Our results showed that the microbiomes from these municipal WWTPs were significantly different. The assembly of microbiomes in municipal WWTPs followed deterministic and stochastic processes governed by geographical location, temperature, and nutrients. We found that both taxonomic and phylogenetic alpha-diversities of tropical Bangkok municipal WWTPs were the highest and were rich in yet-to-be-identified microbial taxa. Nitrospirae and beta-Proteobacteria were more abundant in tropical municipal WWTPs, but did not result in better removal efficiencies of ammonium and total nitrogen. Overall, these results suggest that tropical and temperate municipal WWTPs harbored diverse and unique microbial resources, and the municipal WWTP microbiomes were assembled with different processes. Implications of these findings for designing and running tropical municipal WWTPs were discussed.