Australian Centre for Water
and Environmental Biotechnology

AWMC Seminar Program: Holly Stolberg and Brendan Goh

Title: The Role Microorganism Play in the Efficiency of Waste Stabilisation Lagoons

Presenter: Holly Stolberg

Abstract: Waste Stabilisation Lagoons (WSLs) are an essential form of wastewater treatment in rural communities. They provide a cost-effective way to treat domestic wastewater that depend on natural processes to remove nutrients from the system and require little to no energy input. Considering this, there has been little work undertaken that compares the microbial community of WSLs that are efficiently and inefficiently removing nutrients. Thus, the aim of this project was to determine the microbial communities present in two WSL systems in the greater Brisbane area. One system that was efficiently removing nutrients, Forest Hill, and one that was not, Laidley. Whilst also investigating how these communities changed seasonably. This was achieved through analysis of physiochemical parameters and phylogenetic analysis using next generation sequencing of both WSL systems. Results showed that the efficiency of a WSL system to remove nutrients is intrinsically linked to the microbial community present in the system. The microbial communities of the two WSL systems were vastly different. Nutrient levels throughout a system were found to directly relate to the microbes that were present, and that if the nutrient levels didn’t change throughout the system then the microbial communities likewise remained unchanged.  A shift in microbial communities of each system between seasons was present. The results found in this report will lead to enhanced management and remediation processes in WSLs that are inefficiently removing nutrients, whilst also providing a better understanding of the processes, and microbes linked to such processes, occurring in these lagoon systems.


Title: Enrichment and cultivation of nitrifying and heterotrophic microorganisms from drinking water premise plumbing

Presenter: Brendon Goh

Abstract: The understanding of the microbial community in drinking water distribution systems biofilm is of importance as they can affect the quality of drinking water. Nitrifiers have been identified to play a role in these communities and may be pioneer microorganisms in the biofilm. This study sought to address the knowledge gap that exist regarding the types of nitrifiers and heterotrophic microorganisms present in premise plumbing and the roles they may play in the biofilm. A continuous batch culture approach was taken to isolate for nitrifiers and the cultures were monitored using molecular and FISH analysis. A possible novel Nitrobacter species was isolated although not all results are in agreements with this. Concurrently, heterotrophs were isolated from the nitrifying enrichment cultures and were tested for their ability to perform nitrification activity, resistance to chlorine and chlorobenzene degradation ability. Nitrification activity was not detected in the heterotrophic isolates. Devosia Limi may be more resistant to chlorine than the other heterotrophic isolates. Variovorax Boronicumulans and Variovorax Paradoxus may have the ability to degrade chlorobenzene.

AWMC hosts a free seminar every Friday from 9am.

Event Details
Date & Time: 
Friday, 07 June 2019
9am - 10am
Venue: AIBN Building 75, Level 1 Seminar Room

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