AIMS : To assess the impact of winery wastewater (WW) on biological sand
filter (BSF) bacterial community structures, and to evaluate whether BSFs can
constitute alternative and valuable treatment- processes to remediate WW.
METHODS AND RESULTS : : During 112 days, WW was used to contaminate a BSF
mesocosm (length 173 cm/width 106 cm/depth 30 cm). The effect of WW on
bacterial communities of four BSF microenvironments (surface/deep, inlet/
outlet) was investigated using terminal-restriction fragment length
polymorphism (T-RFLP). BSF achieved high Na (95 1%), complete Cl and
almost complete chemical oxygen demand (COD) (98 0%) and phenolic
(99 2%) removals. T-RFLP analysis combined with ANOSIM revealed that WW
significantly modified the surface and deep BSF bacterial communities.
CONCLUSIONS : BSF provided high COD, phenolic and salt removals throughout
the experiment. WW-selected bacterial communities were thus able to tolerate
and/or degrade WW, suggesting that community composition does not alter
BSF performances. However, biomass increased significantly in the WWimpacted
surface sediments, which could later lead to system clogging and
should thus be monitored.
SIGNIFICANCE AND IMPACT OF THE STUDY : BSFs constitute alternatives to
constructed wetlands to treat agri effluents such as WW. To our knowledge,
this study is the first unravelling the responses of BSF bacterial communities to
contamination and suggests that WW-selected BSF communities maintained
high removal performances.