The potential denitrification activity and the composition of the denitrifying bacterial community in a full-scale rockwool biofilter used for treating livestock manure composting emissions were analyzed. Packing material sampled from the rockwool biofilter was anoxically batch-incubated with 15N-labeled nitrate in the presence of different electron donors (compost extract, ammonium, hydrogen sulfide, propionate, and acetate), and responses were compared with those of activated sludge from a livestock wastewater treatment facility. Overnight batch-incubation showed that potential denitrification activity for the rockwool samples was higher with added compost extract than with other potential electron donors. The number of 16S rRNA and nosZ genes in the rockwool samples were in the range of 1.64–3.27 × 109 and 0.28–2.27 × 108 copies/g dry, respectively. Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis analysis targeting nirK, nirS, and nosZ genes indicated that the distribution of nir genes was spread in a vertical direction and the distribution of nosZ genes was spread horizontally within the biofilter. The corresponding denitrifying enzymes were mainly related to those from Phyllobacteriaceae, Bradyrhizobiaceae, and Alcaligenaceae bacteria and to environmental clones retrieved from agricultural soil, activated sludge, freshwater environments, and guts of earthworms or other invertebrates. A nosZ gene fragment having 99% nucleotide sequence identity with that of Oligotropha carboxidovorans was also detected. Some nirK fragments were related to NirK from micro-aerobic environments. Thus, denitrification in this full-scale rockwool biofilter might be achieved by a consortium of denitrifying bacteria adapted to the intensely aerated ecosystem and utilizing mainly organic matter supplied by the livestock manure composting waste-gas stream.
Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology – Springer Journals
Published: Jul 7, 2017
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