Microbial diversity in tanning wastewater treatment reactors.

Najoua Mlaik, Joszef Bakonyi, Andrea Borsodi, Steve Woodward, Lassaad Belbahri, Tahar Mechichi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Diversity of the microbial consortia involved in biodegradation of unhairing wastewater from tanneries was assessed. Both culture-dependent and culture-independent approaches were applied to identify bacteria in the activated sludge and endogenous biomass systems. Conventional culturing using dilution
and planting techniques yielded eighteen pure bacterial isolates from endogenous biomass and activated sludge reactors. Isolates were identified using sequence analysis of PCR-amplified 16S rRNA sequences. Most of these bacteria belonged to the genus Bacillus. Culture-independent molecular studies of bacterial diversity in both reactors, however, revealed a wide diversity of microorganisms, including members of the Proteobacteria group. Therefore, the alpha Proteobacteria group in the endogenous biomass was characterized by the genus Pseudochrobactrum, which was absent from the activated sludge biomass. The 77 and 88 bacterial clone sequences recovered from the activated sludge reactor and the endogenous biomass reactor, respectively, were grouped into 23 Operational Taxonomic Units (OTUs). The Proteobacteria division represented the predominant phylogenetic group within the clone library, encompassing 52.17% and 60.75% of the total OTUs obtained from the activated sludge and endogenous biomass tanks, respectively. The diversity in both tanks was also determined. The rarefaction curves and Shannon index indicated that bacterial populations were equally diverse in both reactors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)401-410
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Progress and Sustainable Energy
Issue number2
Early online date9 Jun 2014
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2015


  • tanning wastewater
  • microbial diversity
  • dynamics
  • bacterial communities


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