Global Database of Microbes in Wastewater Treatment Systems and Anaerobic Digesters

We are carrying out a world-wide survey of Microbes in Wastewater Treatment Systems, and Anaerobic Digesters, to produce a (near) complete list of all microbes that can be encountered in these engineered microbial ecosystems. All microbes will get a unique identification tag – the full-length 16S rRNA gene - by using a new high throughput primer unbiased sequencing technology (Karst et al., 2018). We plan to apply the method to more than 1000 samples from more than 35 countries.

The list of all microbes (bacteria and archaea) identified in the surveys (including all relevant sequence info) will form a reference database available to anyone in the field, thus enabling all microbes in future studies to get unique tags, making it possible to compare results from different studies across the world and – with time - to link functions and other relevant info to specific species. The comprehensive database of long 16S rRNA gene sequences will also make it possible to evaluate primers for amplicon sequencing, design better FISH probes and study micro-heterogeneity in great details – among many other exciting possibilities. We will also provide an improved taxonomy for wastewater treatment systems build on MiDAS (McIlroy et al., 2017) and SILVA (Quast et al., 2013) taxonomy. We hope these reference databases can significantly contribute to moving the field of microbial ecology of wastewater treatment systems and anaerobic digesters forward.

The surveys will be carried out in 2018 and results are expected to be available on this web page early 2019.






Microbes in Wastewater Treatment Systems

Microbes in Anaerobic Digesters



The survey is supported by the Villum Foundation and the Danish Research Council for Independent Research by grants to Professor Per Halkjær Nielsen and Associate Professor Mads Albertsen, both Center for Microbial Communities, Aalborg University, Denmark.

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