Genome-based microbial ecology of anammox granules in a full-scale wastewater treatment system

Nat Commun. 2016 Mar 31:7:11172. doi: 10.1038/ncomms11172.


Partial-nitritation anammox (PNA) is a novel wastewater treatment procedure for energy-efficient ammonium removal. Here we use genome-resolved metagenomics to build a genome-based ecological model of the microbial community in a full-scale PNA reactor. Sludge from the bioreactor examined here is used to seed reactors in wastewater treatment plants around the world; however, the role of most of its microbial community in ammonium removal remains unknown. Our analysis yielded 23 near-complete draft genomes that together represent the majority of the microbial community. We assign these genomes to distinct anaerobic and aerobic microbial communities. In the aerobic community, nitrifying organisms and heterotrophs predominate. In the anaerobic community, widespread potential for partial denitrification suggests a nitrite loop increases treatment efficiency. Of our genomes, 19 have no previously cultivated or sequenced close relatives and six belong to bacterial phyla without any cultivated members, including the most complete Omnitrophica (formerly OP3) genome to date.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Ammonium Compounds / analysis
  • Bacteria / classification
  • Bacteria / genetics*
  • Bacteria / metabolism
  • Biodegradation, Environmental
  • Bioreactors / microbiology
  • Denitrification
  • Genome, Bacterial*
  • Metagenomics
  • Nitrites / metabolism
  • Phylogeny
  • Sewage / chemistry
  • Sewage / microbiology
  • Wastewater*
  • Water Purification / methods*


  • Ammonium Compounds
  • Nitrites
  • Sewage
  • Waste Water