Changes in microbial diversity in industrial wastewater evaporation ponds following artificial salination

Eitan Ben-Dov, Orr H. Shapiro, Ronen Gruber, Asher Brenner, Ariel Kushmaro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


The salinity of industrial wastewater evaporation ponds was artificially increased from 3-7% to 12-16% (w/v), in an attempt to reduce the activity of sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB) and subsequent emission of H2S. To investigate the changes in bacterial diversity in general, and SRB in particular, following this salination, two sets of universal primers targeting the 16S rRNA gene and the functional apsA [adenosine-5′-phosphosulfate (APS) reductase α-subunit] gene of SRB were used. Phylogenetic analysis indicated that Proteobacteria was the most dominant phylum both before and after salination (with 52% and 68%, respectively), whereas Firmicutes was the second most dominant phylum before (39%) and after (19%) salination. Sequences belonging to Bacteroidetes, Spirochaetes and Actinobacteria were also found. Several groups of SRB from Proteobacteria and Firmicutes were also found to inhabit this saline environment. Comparison of bacterial diversity before and after salination of the ponds revealed both a shift in community composition and an increase in microbial diversity following salination. The share of SRB in the 16S rRNA gene was reduced following salination, consistent with the reduction of H2S emissions. However, the community composition, as shown by apsA gene analysis, was not markedly affected.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)437-446
Number of pages10
JournalFEMS Microbiology Ecology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2008


  • Artificial salination
  • Industrial wastewater evaporation ponds
  • Microbial diversity
  • Sulfate-reducing bacteria

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Ecology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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