Coal Mine Wastewater Microbial Communities

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“Identification of the microbial community composition and structure of coal-mine wastewater treatment plants”



The wastewater from coal-mine industry varies greatly and is resistant to biodegradation for containing large quantities of inorganic and organic pollutants. Microorganisms in activated sludge are responsible for the pollutants’ removal, whereas the microbial community composition and structure are far from understood. In the present study, the sludges from five coal-mine wastewater treatment plants were collected and the microbial communities were analyzed by Illumina high-throughput sequencing. The diversities of these sludges were lower than that of the municipal wastewater treatment systems. The most abundant phylum was Proteobacteria ranging from 63.64% to 96.10%, followed by Bacteroidetes (7.26%), Firmicutes (5.12%), Nitrospira (2.02%), Acidobacteria (1.31%), Actinobacteria (1.30%) and Planctomycetes (0.95%). At genus level, Thiobacillus and Comamonas were the two primary genera in all sludges, other major genera included Azoarcus, Thauera, Pseudomonas, Ohtaekwangia, Nitrosomonas and Nitrospira. Most of these core genera were closely related with aromatic hydrocarbon degradation and denitrification processes. Identification of the microbial communities in coal-mine wastewater treatment plants will be helpful for wastewater management and control.


Ma, Q., Qu, Y. Y., Zhang, X. W., Shen, W. L., Liu, Z. Y., Wang, J. W., … Zhou, J. T. (2015). Identification of the microbial community composition and structure of coal-mine wastewater treatment plants.  Microbiological Research,  175, 1—5.



Interesting industrial perspective of wastewater. Paper applies some of the microbial community methods we have discussed in class.

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