National Research Council of Canada. NRC Biotechnology Research Institute
Population dynamics was studied in a 52-l biotrickling filter (BTF) operated for 182 days and used to clean air contaminated with styrene vapors. In the BTF, biomass grew either as free-floating (planktonic) or attached (sessile) microorganisms. PCR-amplified 16S rDNA fragments from planktonic and sessile cells within the bioreactor were analyzed using denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE). The results indicated that the complexity of biofilm community was always more pronounced than the complexity of the planktonic cell community. Notably, Rhodococcus erythropolis was identified, based on DNA sequence analysis, as one of the biofilm-specific strains. It was also shown that the inoculum, even when enriched with styrene-degrading bacteria, was not adapted to the growth conditions imposed by the BTF. After a 35-day microbial acclimation period, the DGGE analysis also showed less variation in the banding pattern representing the microbial complexity of the biofilm. In addition, the phylogenic fingerprinting method used demonstrated similar banding profiles in the biofilm along the filter bed. (c) Biosciences Information Services.