• Open Access

Microbiology of ‘Candidatus Accumulibacter’ in activated sludge


  • Shaomei He,

    1. Departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering
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    • Present address: DOE-Joint Genome Institute, Walnut Creek, CA 94598, USA.

  • Katherine D. McMahon

    Corresponding author
    1. Departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering
    2. Bacteriology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI 53706, USA.
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E-mail tmcmahon@engr.wisc.edu; Tel. (+1) 608 263 3137; Fax (+1) 608 262 5199.


Candidatus Accumulibacter’ is a biotechnologically important bacterial group that can accumulate large amounts of intracellular polyphosphate, contributing to biological phosphorus removal in wastewater treatment. Since its first molecular identification more than a decade ago, this bacterial group has drawn significant research attention due to its high abundance in many biological phosphorus removal systems. In the past 6 years, our understanding of Accumulibacter microbiology and ecophysiology has advanced rapidly, largely owing to genomic information obtained through shotgun metagenomic sequencing efforts. In this review, we focus on the metabolism, physiology, fine-scale population structure and ecological distribution of Accumulibacter, aiming to integrate the information learned so far and to present a more complete picture of the microbiology of this important bacterial group.