Seasonal variations and resilience of bacterial communities in a sewage polluted urban river

Tamara Garcia-Armisen, Inceoglu Ozgul, N. K. Ouattara, Adriana Anzil, M. Verbanck, Nathalie Brion, Pierre Servais

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

65 Citations (Scopus)


The Zenne River in Brussels (Belgium) and effluents of the two wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) of Brussels were chosen to assess the impact of disturbance on bacterial community composition (BCC) of an urban river. Organic matters, nutrients load and oxygen concentration fluctuated highly along the river and over time because of WWTPs discharge. Tag pyrosequencing of bacterial 16S rRNA genes revealed the significant effect of seasonality on the richness, the bacterial diversity (Shannon index) and BCC. The major grouping: -winter/fall samples versus spring/summer samples- could be associated with fluctuations of in situ bacterial activities (dissolved and particulate organic carbon biodegradation associated with oxygen consumption and N transformation). BCC of the samples collected upstream from the WWTPs discharge were significantly different from BCC of downstream samples and WWTPs effluents, while no significant difference was found between BCC of WWTPs effluents and the downstream samples as revealed by ANOSIM. Analysis per season showed that allochthonous bacteria brought by WWTPs effluents triggered the changes in community composition, eventually followed by rapid post-disturbance return to the original composition as observed in April (resilience), whereas community composition remained altered after the perturbation by WWTPs effluents in the other seasons.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere92579
Number of pages13
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014


  • bacteria
  • diversity
  • urban river
  • Zenne
  • wastewater treatment plant


Dive into the research topics of 'Seasonal variations and resilience of bacterial communities in a sewage polluted urban river'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this