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Open AccessArticle

Evaluating the Impact of Wastewater Effluent on Microbial Communities in the Panke, an Urban River

1
Technische Universität Berlin, 10587 Berlin, Germany
2
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, 24306 Plön, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2019, 11(5), 888; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11050888
Received: 9 April 2019 / Revised: 23 April 2019 / Accepted: 24 April 2019 / Published: 28 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Water Quality and Ecosystems)
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Abstract

Pharmaceuticals are consumed in high amounts and can enter as emerging organic compounds in surface waters as they are only partially retained in wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs). Receiving pharmaceuticals may burden the aquatic environment, as they are designed to be bioactive even at low concentrations. Sediment biofilm populations were analyzed in river sediments due to the exposure of an inflow of WWTP effluents. Illumina MiSeq 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing was performed of 108 sediment samples, which were taken from multiple cores within three sampling locations in the Panke River, with one sampling site located downstream of the inflow. Sequencing data were processed to infer microbial community structure in samples concerning the environmental variables, such as micropollutants and physicochemical parameters measured for each core. More than 25 different micropollutants were measured in pore water samples, in which bezafibrate, clofibric acid, carbamazepine, and diclofenac were detected at high concentrations. Bacterial 16S rRNA gene amplicons revealed Nitrospirae, Proteobacteria, Chloroflexi, Actinobacteria, Acidobacteria, Bacteroidetes, and Ignavibacteriae as the most abundant groups in the samples. Differences in microbial community composition were observed with respect to micropollutants. However, our findings revealed that the composition of the microbial community was not only governed by the effluent. The significant changes in the alpha- and beta-diversity were explained by phenobarbital and SO42−, which did not originate from the WWTP indicating that more unobserved factors are also likely to play a role in affecting the biofilm community’s composition. View Full-Text
Keywords: micropollutants; wastewater treatment plant discharge; sediments; microbial communities; 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing micropollutants; wastewater treatment plant discharge; sediments; microbial communities; 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Nega, M.; Braun, B.; Künzel, S.; Szewzyk, U. Evaluating the Impact of Wastewater Effluent on Microbial Communities in the Panke, an Urban River. Water 2019, 11, 888.

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