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Wastewater microorganisms impact the micropollutant biotransformation potential of natural stream biofilms


Desiante, Werner L; Carles, Louis; Wullschleger, Simon; Joss, Adriano; Stamm, Christian; Fenner, Kathrin (2022). Wastewater microorganisms impact the micropollutant biotransformation potential of natural stream biofilms. Water research, 217:118413.

Abstract

Biotransformation is the most important process removing manmade chemicals from the environment, yet mechanisms governing this essential ecosystem function are underexplored. To understand these mechanisms, we conducted experiments in flow-through systems, by colonizing stream biofilms under different conditions of mixing river water with treated (and ultrafiltered) wastewater. We performed biotransformation experiments with those biofilms, using a set of 75 micropollutants, and could disentangle potential mechanisms determining the biotransformation potential of stream biofilms. We showed that the increased biotransformation potential downstream of wastewater treatment plants that we observed for specific micropollutants contained in household wastewaters (downstream effect) is caused by microorganisms released with the treated effluent, rather than by the in-stream exposure to those micropollutants. Complementary data from 16S rRNA amplicon-sequencing revealed 146 amplicon sequence variants (ASVs) that followed the observed biotransformation patterns. Our results align with findings for community tolerance, and provide clear experimental evidence that microorganisms released with treated wastewater integrate into downstream biofilms and impact crucial ecosystem functions.

Abstract

Biotransformation is the most important process removing manmade chemicals from the environment, yet mechanisms governing this essential ecosystem function are underexplored. To understand these mechanisms, we conducted experiments in flow-through systems, by colonizing stream biofilms under different conditions of mixing river water with treated (and ultrafiltered) wastewater. We performed biotransformation experiments with those biofilms, using a set of 75 micropollutants, and could disentangle potential mechanisms determining the biotransformation potential of stream biofilms. We showed that the increased biotransformation potential downstream of wastewater treatment plants that we observed for specific micropollutants contained in household wastewaters (downstream effect) is caused by microorganisms released with the treated effluent, rather than by the in-stream exposure to those micropollutants. Complementary data from 16S rRNA amplicon-sequencing revealed 146 amplicon sequence variants (ASVs) that followed the observed biotransformation patterns. Our results align with findings for community tolerance, and provide clear experimental evidence that microorganisms released with treated wastewater integrate into downstream biofilms and impact crucial ecosystem functions.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Department of Chemistry
Dewey Decimal Classification:540 Chemistry
Scopus Subject Areas:Physical Sciences > Environmental Engineering
Physical Sciences > Civil and Structural Engineering
Physical Sciences > Ecological Modeling
Physical Sciences > Water Science and Technology
Physical Sciences > Waste Management and Disposal
Physical Sciences > Pollution
Uncontrolled Keywords:Pollution, Waste Management and Disposal, Water Science and Technology, Ecological Modeling, Environmental Engineering, Civil and Structural Engineering
Language:English
Date:1 June 2022
Deposited On:06 Jan 2023 17:14
Last Modified:29 May 2024 01:41
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0043-1354
OA Status:Hybrid
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.watres.2022.118413
PubMed ID:35504081
Project Information:
  • : FunderFP7
  • : Grant ID614768
  • : Project TitlePredicting environment-specific biotransformation of chemical contaminants
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0)