• Thirteen pure strains that possessed high methyl red (MR)-decolorizing ability were isolated from dye-contaminated water. Each isolate was identified by 16S rDNA sequencing. The results reveal that all of the isolated strains were facultative anaerobic bacteria. Two novel bacterial consortia (AE and AN), which could decolorize MR under aerobic and anaerobic conditions, respectively, were developed. Azo dye decolorization rate was significantly higher with the use of consortia compared to that with the use of individual strains. Both of the consortia can decolorize different azo dyes effectively in a short time, and tolerate MR with high concentrations. To provide further insight into the microbial diversity of the bacteria consortia under aerobic and anaerobic conditions, polymerase chain reaction-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (PCR-DGGE) analyses were performed. PCR-DGGE profiles revealed that the microbial community had changed significantly with varying initial concentrations of MR. Phylogenetic analysis indicated that microbial populations in the aerobic compartment belong to Klebsiella, Buttiauxella and Bacillus, whereas Klebsiella, Escherichia, Bacillus and Clostridium were present in the anaerobic compartment. Klebsiella, which was the majority genus in both of the consortia, may play an important role in azo dye removal. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.

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