Home pagePress monitoringImportant role of prokaryotic viruses in sewage treatment

Important role of prokaryotic viruses in sewage treatment

Date: 10.12.2021 

Prokaryotic viruses (phages) existing in activated sludge (AS), a biological treatment process widely used in wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs), act to regulate the composition of microbial community in the activated sludge.

Kredit: University of Hong Kong.Phages are major bacterial predators, through virus-host interactions with key bacterial populations in AS systems, they can influence the removal efficiency of pollutants. Phages of high specificity could be used to curb undesired bacteria, e.g., the undesired foaming-associated filamentous bacteria that could disrupt the removal efficiency of AS system.

Clinically, phage therapy has been demonstrated by other research team as an effective way against the antibiotic resistant superbug Acinetobacter baumannii, and activated sludge in WWTPs is an important source for isolating phages for treating infections to save people's lives.

The research team led by Professor Tong Zhang in the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Hong Kong (HKU) recently applied a systematic metagenomic pipeline to retrieve a catalog of around 50,000 phages from six WWTPs in Hong Kong.

The study reveals the large and uncharacterised prokaryotic viral diversity in activated sludge, and largely expands the current AS prokaryotic virus catalog to provide reference for utilizing phage treatments to control undesired microorganisms in WWTPs.





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