Study expands understanding of bacterial communities for global next-generation wastewater treatment and reuse systems

Digital image of BacteriaResearchers at the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University and the University of Oklahoma led an interdisciplinary global study to explore wastewater microbial communities. The research expands the understanding of activated sludge microbiomes for next-generation wastewater treatment and reuse systems enhanced by microbiome engineering. Developing a fundamental understanding of the biodiversity of the activated sludge microbiome in relationship to performance is critical to advancing and optimizing this key technology for maintaining environmental health. “This unprecedented global sampling effort yielded new insight into the microbiology of activated sludge,” said Distinguished Sustainability Scientist Bruce Rittmann, director of the Biodesign Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology at ASU. “Despite giant geographic differences, the microbial communities of activated sludge have a core of about 28 bacterial strains, which reflects the powerful and unique ecological selection of the activated sludge process.”