Acetate promotes microbial reductive debromination of tetrabromobisphenol A during the startup phase of anaerobic wastewater sludge bioreactors.
The detection of increasing concentrations of tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBPA) in wastewater treatment plants is raising concerns as TBBPA has been identified as a potentially toxic flame retardant. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the effect of acetate biostimulation on TBBPA microbial reductive debromination, and the response of anaerobic sludge associated microbial communities repeatedly exposed to TBBPA. Results indicate that the bulk of the microbial community did not experience significant shifts as a result of TBBPA exposure, and that only a small fraction of the community responded to the presence of TBBPA. Taxa most likely responsible for TBBPA transformation affiliated to Clostridiales and the wastewater sludge group Blvii28. The biostimulating effect of acetate was only observed during reactor startup, when acetogenesis was likely not yet occurring. However, when acetate likely started to be microbially generated in the reactor, acetate addition resulted in a slight but significant inhibiting effect on TBBPA transformation. A significant increase of hydrogenotrophic methanogens in the TBBPA-spiked reactor overtime implies that TBBPA degraders were not in direct competition with methanogens for H2. These results strongly suggest that TBBPA degrading taxa might have been primarily using acetate as an electron donor for the reductive debromination of TBBPA.
Lefevre, E; Redfern, L; Cooper, EM; Stapleton, HM; Gunsch, CK
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