Nitrosomonas europaeabiofilm formation is enhanced byPseudomonas aeruginosa

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Biofilms are useful in biotechnology applications such as wastewater treatment, where aggregation of cells on surfaces can increase retention of slow-growing organisms such as ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB). The formation and morphological development of polymicrobial biofilms including AOB are not thoroughly understood. Here, we investigated the formation of Nitrosomonas europaea AOB biofilms in flow cell systems. Nitrosomonas europaea developed substantially greater biovolume in co-culture with heterotrophic Pseudomonas aeruginosa than when cultured alone. In single-species biofilms, N. europaea formed thin, dispersed layers of cells. Contrastingly, when N. europaea was added to flow cells containing pre-established P. aeruginosa biofilms, N. europaea associated closely with P. aeruginosa, resulting in dual-species clusters with greater quantities of N. europaea. These results indicate that P. aeruginosa enhances the formation of N. europaea in biofilms. This favorable association of N. europaea with heterotrophic biofilms is expected to facilitate development of improved strategies for retention of N. europaea and other slow-growing AOB in engineered bioreactors.

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