Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 102, Issue 11, pp 4975–4985 | Cite as

High diversity of potential nitrate-reducing Fe(II)-oxidizing bacteria enriched from activated sludge

  • Liangying Zhang
  • Haohao Sun
  • Xu-xiang Zhang
  • Hongqiang Ren
  • Lin Ye
Environmental biotechnology


Nitrate-dependent Fe(II) oxidation (NDFO) has been discovered in various environments including activated sludge and can potentially be used to remove nitrate from wastewater. In this study, NDFO sludge was successfully enriched from activated sludge under high Fe(II) concentrations over 100 days and the denitrification rate achieved 1.37 mmol N/(gVSS day). High-throughput sequencing of the bacterial 16S rRNA gene was used to investigate the microbial community structure dynamics during the enrichment process. The results showed that the microbial community changed significantly and high diversity of potential Fe(II)-oxidizing bacteria (FeOB) was observed in the enriched sludge. Thermomonas and Gallionella were the dominant bacterial genera in the enriched sludge and their relative abundances accounted for 9.49 and 4.08%, respectively. Furthermore, it was found that potential FeOB were also abundantly present in activated sludge samples of common municipal wastewater treatment plants. Collectively, this study demonstrated that NDFO could be successfully performed by enriched activated sludge and high diversity of bacteria is involved in this process, and the results also provide baseline information for future research and engineering application of NDFO process.


NDFO Microbial community Fe(II)-oxidizing bacteria Activated sludge 



This study was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (51608256), the Natural Science Foundation of Jiangsu Province (BK20160657), the Science Foundation for Distinguished Young Scholars of Jiangsu Province of China (BK20150019), and the Fundamental Research Funds for the China Central Universities (021114380030/021114380034).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Supplementary material

253_2018_8961_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (208 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 208 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Pollution Control and Resource Reuse, School of the EnvironmentNanjing UniversityNanjingChina

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