Uses Of Haloarchaea In Wastewater Treatments Combining De-nitrification And Nitrification Processes | 27180
Journal of Earth Science & Climatic Change
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Wastewater treatments (WWT) rely on microorganisms to perform the breakdown of sewage influent. Modern biological
treatments of wastewater involve not only carbon removal but also elimination of other nutrients such as nitrogen.
Although the importance of eukaryotic and bacterial organisms in these processes has long been recognized the role played
by Archaea in aerobic and anaerobic WWT has received much less attention. In recent years, it is being particularly important
the use of Haloarchaea in treatments that remove nitrogen compounds from water. The manufacture of chemicals compounds
(pesticides, herbicides, explosives, etc.) usually generates effluents containing complex mixtures of salts and nitrate, nitrite
or ammonium. Also, the increase of salinity in soils and waters in the last few decades has given advantage to some species
like Haloferax mediterranei. Physiological studies focused on denitrification processes carried out with Hfx mediterranei have
revealed that it tolerates high nitrate (up to 2 M) and nitrite (up to 50 mM) concentrations which are the highest described
from a prokaryotic microorganism. Therefore it could be attractive for bioremediation applications in sewage plants where
high salts, nitrate and nitrite concentrations are detected in wastewaters and brines. In a recent study, this Haloarchaeon was
able to remove 60% of the nitrate and 75% of nitrite initially present in the brines (initial concentration was 40 mM nitrite).
These results suggest that Hfx mediterranei and in general, Halophilic archaea are excellent models to explore large-scale
bioremediation processes to remove nitrogen compounds from brines and wastewaters.
Javier Torregrosa-Crespo is currently pursuing his PhD from University of Alicante (Spain) in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology after finishing his studies in
Biology. In addition, he has got experience in production of Bio-fuels working in the international company ABENGOA S.L. (Sevilla, Spain).
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