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Microbial Ecology. Microbes in their Environment Microbe-Microbe Interactions Biogeochemistry (Cycling of Elements) Microbe-Higher Organism Interactions Environmental Pollution Control. Positive Population Interactions. Protocooperation. Protocooperative Consortium.

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microbial ecology
Microbial Ecology
  • Microbes in their Environment
  • Microbe-Microbe Interactions
  • Biogeochemistry (Cycling of Elements)
  • Microbe-Higher Organism Interactions
  • Environmental Pollution Control
ant fungi mutualism
Ant-Fungi Mutualism

Actinomycete amensalism of parasitic fungi

Fungal-Fungal Parasitism



  • Oxygen supply limited by mineral particle size, organic matter content and water content.
  • Plant roots may also add oxygen to deeper soils or anaerobic soils.
  • Water saturation leads to anaerobic conditions and increased denitrification.
  • Distribution of microbes depends on organic matter supply and source (humus and root exudates)
soil close up
Soil Close-Up

Geosmin = “earthy smell”

= Cyanobacteria

= Actinomycetes

mycorrhizae fungi
Mycorrhizae Fungi

Ectomycorrhizal association between Douglas Fir (Pseuditsuga menziesii) and a boletus-like mushroom (Suillus caerulescens).

bovine rumen
Bovine Rumen

It’s a 100+ liter cellulose-degrading methane-producing microbial incubation.


There are only a few manned submersibles in the world that can explore hydrothermal vent communities (e.g. Alvin)

control point sources wastewater treatment
Control Point SourcesWastewater Treatment
  • Raw Sewage (99.9% water to 0.1% waste)
  • Pollutants in sewage are:
    • Debris and grit
    • Particulate organic material
    • Colloidal and dissolved organic material
    • Dissolved inorganic material
    • Human Pathogens
    • Toxic Chemicals
    • Pharmaceuticals
wastewater treatment
Wastewater Treatment
  • Preliminary (physical screening)
  • Primary (physically settle solids)
  • Secondary (biological)
    • Remove organics aerobicaly (lower BOD)
    • Solids production (separate water and “sludge”)
    • Sludge Treatment (solids reduced)
  • Tertiary (biological or chemical “polishing”)
    • Biological nutrient removal systems
    • Pathogen removal by chlorine or ozone
    • Chemical nutrient removal (costly)

Secondary Treatment:

Activated Sludge (aerobic)

Trickle Filters (aerobic)

Anaerobic Sludge Digesters

what da floc
What da Floc?
  • Bacterial growth in activated sludge digested (aerobic) will aggregate (floc).
  • Dissolved organics aggregate with bacterial growth and removed from the water.
  • Imbalances may cause growth of filamentous bacteria or fungi; prevents settling; called “bulking”.

Anaerobic Sludge Digester

(Methane Production)