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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Kimberly, Idaho » Northwest Irrigation and Soils Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #307108

Title: Detection of purple sulfur bacteria in purple and non-purple dairy wastewaters

item Dungan, Robert - Rob
item Leytem, April

Submitted to: Journal of Environmental Quality
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/15/2015
Publication Date: 9/16/2015
Publication URL:
Citation: Dungan, R.S., Leytem, A.B. 2015. Detection of purple sulfur bacteria in purple and non-purple dairy wastewaters. Journal of Environmental Quality. 44:1550-1555.

Interpretive Summary: Photosynthetic bacteria, known as purple sulfur bacteria (PSB), naturally thrive in some livestock waste management systems turning them purple in color. The benefit of PSB blooms is that odors are often reduced. Our main objective was to determine the occurrence of PSB in eight dairy wastewater ponds. Purple sulfur bacteria were cultivated from all wastewater ponds, even if they were not purple. Results from our study suggest that PSB blooms are linked to high salinity, nitrogen, solids, and chemical oxygen demand (a test used to indirectly measure organics). Because of odor reduction benefits, future research should be geared towards maximizing growth of PSB in non-purple dairy wastewater storage ponds.

Technical Abstract: Purple sulfur bacteria (PSB) in livestock wastewaters use reduced sulfur compounds and simple volatile organics as growth factors. As a result, the presence of PSB in manure storage ponds or lagoons is often associated with reduced odors. In this study, our objectives were to use molecular- and culture-based techniques to evaluate the occurrence of PSB in eight dairy wastewater ponds and identify physiochemical properties that might cause blooms to occur. Community DNA was extracted from composited wastewater samples, then the PufM gene and a conservative sequence for Chromatiaceae were amplified. Analysis of the 16S rRNA genes from denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) bands indicated that all of the dairy wastewater ponds contained sequences that matched with Thiocapsa roseopersicina, with sequences from a few ponds also matching with Marichromatium sp., Thiolamprovum pedioforme, and Thiobaca trueperi. PufM sequences amplified from pure and enrichment cultures were most similar to T. roseopersicina, indicating that it may be the dominant PSB in all wastewaters investigated. Purple wastewater ponds were also found to have the highest salinity, nitrogen, total and volatile solids, and chemical oxygen demand, suggesting that these factors might enhance PSB blooms. While not all ponds were phototrophic as determined visually and via a carotenoid assay, PSB could be enriched from the wastewaters, thus finding methods to enhance their growth in non-purple ponds should be investigated further.