A lab-scale sequencing batch reactor (SBR) and six full-scale wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) performing enhanced biological phosphorus removal (EBPR) were surveyed. The abundance of Accumulibacter-related organisms in the full-scale plants was investigated using fluorescent in situ hybridization. Accumulibacter-related organisms were present in all of the full-scale EBPR plants, at levels ranging from 9% to 24% of total cells. The high percentage of Accumulibacter-related organisms seemed to be associated with configurations which minimize the nitrate recycling to the anaerobic zone and low influent BOD:TP ratios. PCR-based clone libraries were constructed from the community 16S rRNA gene plus the internally transcribed spacer region amplified from the SBR and five of the full-scale WWTPs. Comparative sequence analysis was carried out using Accumulibacter-related clones, providing higher phylogenetic resolution and revealing finer-scale clustering of the sequences retrieved from the SBR and full-scale EBPR plants.

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