Comprehensive insights into core microbial assemblages in activated sludge exposed to textile-dyeing wastewater stress

Taixing Han, Jingjing Zheng, Yutong Han, Xiangyang Xu, Mengyan Li, Cory Schwarz, Liang Zhu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Microorganisms in activated sludge are widely recognized for their roles in wastewater treatment. However, previous studies were mainly concerned with the diversity and driving factors of microbial communities within domestic wastewater treatment, and those of domestic wastewater treatment systems mixed with industrial wastewater are poorly understood. In this research, three different full-scale aerobic activated sludge (AS) wastewater treatment systems fed with municipal, textile-dyeing, and mixed wastewater, respectively, were monitored over the operation course of three months. 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing analysis revealed that the microbial communities in textile-dyeing wastewater activated sludge (AS) exhibited significantly lower richness and diversity (p < 0.01, Adonis) compared to those fed with municipal wastewater. In contrast, textile-dyeing derived AS selectively enriched microbial taxa with aromatic degradation and denitrification potentials. Further, FARPROTAX and metabolomics indicated the inhibition of 72.5% metabolic functions (p < 0.01) in AS from the system fed with textile-dyeing wastewater, including the pathways of pentose phosphate metabolism, purine metabolism, and glycerophospholipid metabolism. Overall, this study corroborates textile-dyeing wastewater is a novel microbial niche and could suppress sludge performance by inhibiting microbial activity and metabolism, raising concerns on AS-based systems for industrial wastewater treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number148145
JournalScience of the Total Environment
StatePublished - Oct 15 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


  • Activated sludge
  • Denitrification inhibition
  • Metabonomics
  • Microbial assemblages
  • Textile-dyeing wastewater


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