Syntrophy between fermentative and purple phototrophic bacteria to treat and valorize carbohydrate-rich wastewaters

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Fermentative chemoorganoheterotrophic bacteria (FCB) and purple photoorganoheterotrophic bacteria (PPB) are two interesting microbial guilds to process carbohydrate-rich wastewaters. Their metabolic interactions have been studied in pure cultures or co-cultures, but little is known about mixed cultures. We studied the effect of reactor regimes (batch/chemostat) and illumination modes (continuous infrared light, dark, or light/dark cycles) on glucose conversions and process ecology of the interactions between FCB and PPB in mixed cultures. In batch, FCB (>80 % of sequencing read counts) outcompeted PPB, under any light conditions. In chemostat under continuous and alternating irradiance, three FCB populations were enriched (>70 %), while Rhodobacteraceae (PPB) made 30 % of the community. Glucose fermentation products were linked to the dominant FCB. Continuous culturing helped maintaining FCB and PPB in syntrophy: PPB grew on glucose metabolites produced by FCB. Engineering the association between FCB and PPB in mixed-culture processes can help to treat and valorize carbohydrate-rich aqueous waste.