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Department of Animal Sciences
The Robert H. Smith Faculty
of Agricultural, Food & Environment

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

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Changes in the Bacterial Community Structure of Denitrifying Sludge from a Recirculating Aquaculture System (RAS) After Geosmin and 2-Methylisoborneol Enrichment


The secondary metabolites geosmin and 2-methylisoborneol (MIB) are known to taint fish with an undesirable, earthy-muddy taste and odor. In an earlier study on a zero-discharge recirculating aquaculture system (RAS), it was found that geosmin and MIB were removed by microbial communities residing in sludge from the digestion basin of the system. In the present study, 16S amplicon sequencing was used to identify changes in relative abundances of bacterial taxa in geosmin and MIB-enriched crude sludge. The removal of geosmin and MIB by the sludge was accompanied by increased abundances of 12 operational taxonomic units (OTUs). The most prominent increase in abundances was recorded for OTUs affiliated with bacterial genera known to harbor denitrifiers. Among these were the Betaproteobacteria genera Thauera, which utilizes terpenes to fuel denitrification, and Comamonas, which was previously isolated from the digestion basin of the same system and is capable of growth on geosmin and MIB as sole carbon and energy sources. Thus far, denitrification has been associated with bacteria capable of utilizing terpenes other than geosmin and MIB. The significant increase in the abundance of denitrifying bacterial genera in sludge in which geosmin and MIB comprised only 0.06% of the total carbon content might indicate that such bacteria play a major role in the removal of these compounds in anoxic environments. © 2019, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.