Revealing microbial community structures in large- and small-scale activated sludge systems by barcoded pyrosequencing of 16S rRNA gene

Purnika Damindi Ranasinghe, Hiroyasu Satoh, Mamoru Oshiki, Kenshiro Oshima, Wataru Suda, Masahira Hattori, Takashi Mino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Citations (Scopus)


The diversity of bacterial groups in activated sludge from large- and small-scale wastewater treatment plants was explored by barcoded pyrosequencing of 16S rRNA gene. Activated sludge samples (three small and 17 large scale) were collected from 12 wastewater treatment plants to clarify precise taxonomy and relative abundances. DNA was extracted, and amplified by 4 base barcoded 27f/519r primer set. The 454 Titanium (Roche) pyrosequences were obtained and analyses performed by Quantitative Insight Into Microbial Ecology (QIIME) with around 100,000 reads. Sequence statistics were computed, while constructing a phylogenetic tree and heatmap. Computed results explained total microbial diversity at phylum and class level and resolution was further extended to Operational Taxonomic Unit (OTU) based taxonomic assignment for investigating community distribution based on individual sample. Composition of sequence reads were compared and microbial community structures for large- and small-scale treatment plants were identified as major phyla (Proteobacteria and Bacteroidetes) and classes (Betaproteobacteria and Bacteroidetes). Also, family level breakdowns were explained and differences in family Nitrospiraceae and phylum Actinobacteria found at their species level were also illustrated. Thus, the pyrosequencing method provides high resolution insight into microbial community structures in activated sludge that might have been unnoticed with conventional approaches.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2155-2161
Number of pages7
JournalWater Science and Technology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Dec 5



  • 16S ribosomal RNA
  • Microbial diversity
  • Pyrosequencing
  • Wastewater treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology

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