Mobile gene elements associated with integrons, including as gene cassettes, have been proposed to play an important role in bacterial evolution by providing an extensive genetic resource. This study hypothesized that critical genes for enzymes involved in EBPR systems, including those involved in polyphosphate, PHA and glycogen synthesis, may be present in mobile gene cassettes. Although no such genes were identified in any of the functional and deteriorated enhanced biological phosphorus removal (EBPR) laboratory-scale SBR systems examined here, many of the open reading frames (ORFs) remained unidentified because of the incompleteness of publicly available databases. An ORF of unknown function (SBR6-2) was encountered in deteriorated EBPR system with an unexpectedly high frequency, comprising 35% of the gene cassette-associated sequences for that system.

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