The composition of nutrient-removing microbial communities in five full-scale membrane bioreactors (MBRs) was investigated using fluorescence in situ hybridization and 16S rRNA pyrosequencing and compared to similar analyses of conventional activated sludge (CAS) communities. The communities were highly similar but some genera that are always present in enhanced biological phosphorus removal (EBPR) (core groups) were absent in the MBRs. The overall phylogenetic similarity of the communities indicated that these differences were primarily closely related groups. More research is needed to establish the operational significance of the observed differences between MBR and CAS sludge.

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