Effect of salt on the metabolism of 'Candidatus Accumulibacter' clade I and II

Zhongwei Wang, Aislinn Dunne, Mark C.M. van Loosdrecht, Pascal E. Saikaly*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Saline wastewater is known to affect the performance of phosphate-accumulating organisms (PAOs) in enhanced biological phosphorus removal (EBPR) process. However, studies comparing the effect of salinity on different PAO clades are lacking. In this study, 'Candidatus Accumulibacter phosphatis' Clade I and II (hereafter referred to as PAOI and PAOII) were highly enriched (~90% in relative abundance as determined by quantitative FISH) in the form of granules in two sequencing batch reactors. Anaerobic and aerobic batch experiments were conducted to evaluate the effect of salinity on the kinetics and stoichiometry of PAOI and PAOII. PAOI and PAOII communities showed different priority in using polyphosphate (poly-P) and glycogen to generate ATP in the anaerobic phase when exposed to salt, with PAOI depending more on intracellular poly-P degradation (e.g., the proportion of calculated ATP derived from poly-P increased by 5-6% at 0.256 mol/L NaCl or KCl) while PAOII on glycolysis of intracellularly stored glycogen (e.g., the proportion of calculated ATP derived from glycogen increased by 29-30% at 0.256 mol/L NaCl or KCl). In the aerobic phase, the loss of phosphate uptake capability was more pronounced in PAOII due to the higher energy cost to synthesize their larger glycogen pool compared to PAOI. For both PAOI and PAOII, aerobic conversion rates were more sensitive to salt than anaerobic conversion rates. Potassium (K+) and sodium (Na+) ions exhibited different effect regardless of the enriched PAO culture, suggesting that the composition of salt is an important factor to consider when studying the effect of salt on EBPR performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number479
Issue numberMAR
StatePublished - Mar 16 2018


  • 'Candidatus Accumulibacter phosphatis' clade I and II
  • Enhanced biological phosphorus removal
  • Phosphate-accumulating organism (PAO)
  • Saline wastewater
  • Water scarcity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)


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