Analysis of pit latrine microbiota reveals depth-related variation in composition, and key parameters and taxa associated with latrine fill-up rate

Ijaz, U. Z. et al. (2022) Analysis of pit latrine microbiota reveals depth-related variation in composition, and key parameters and taxa associated with latrine fill-up rate. Frontiers in Microbiology, 13, 960747. (doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2022.960747) (PMID:36212864) (PMCID:PMC9539666)

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Pit latrines are used by billions of people globally, often in developing countries where they provide a low-tech and low-cost sanitation method. However, health and social problems can arise from a lack of emptying or maintenance of these facilities. A better understanding of the biological and environmental parameters within pit latrines could inform attempts to enhance material decomposition rates, and therefore slow fill-up rate. In this study, we have performed a spatial analysis of 35 Tanzanian pit latrines to identify bacteria and environmental factors that are associated with faster or slower pit latrine fill-up rates. Using ordination of microbial community data, we observed a linear gradient in terms of beta diversity with increasing pit latrine sample depth, corresponding to a shift in microbial community structure from gut-associated families in the top layer to environmental- and wastewater-associated taxa at greater depths. We also investigated the bacteria and environmental parameters associated with fill-up rates, and identified pH, volatile solids, and volatile fatty acids as features strongly positively correlated with pit latrine fill-up rates, whereas phosphate was strongly negatively correlated with fill-up rate. A number of pit latrine microbiota taxa were also correlated with fill-up rates. Using a multivariate regression, we identified the Lactobacillaceae and Incertae_Sedis_XIII taxa as particularly strongly positively and negatively correlated with fill-up rate, respectively. This study therefore increases knowledge of the microbiota within pit latrines, and identifies potentially important bacteria and environmental variables associated with fill-up rates. These new insights may be useful for future studies investigating the decomposition process within pit latrines.

Item Type:Articles
Keywords:Microbiology, sanitation, microbiota, 16S rRNA gene sequencing, pit latrines, decomposition.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Keating, Dr Ciara and Ijaz, Dr Umer
Authors: Ijaz, U. Z., Gundogdu, O., Keating, C., Eekert, M. v., Gibson, W., Parkhill, J., Abilahi, F., Liseki, B., Nguyen, V.-A., Sudgen, S., Quince, C., Ensink, J. H. J., Torondel, B., and Walker, A. W.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine
College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering > Infrastructure and Environment
Journal Name:Frontiers in Microbiology
Publisher:Frontiers Media
ISSN (Online):1664-302X
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2022 Ijaz, Gundogdu, Keating, Eekert, Gibson, Parkhill, Abilahi, Liseki, Nguyen, Sudgen, Quince, Ensink, Torondel and Walker
First Published:First published in Frontiers in Microbiology 13: 960747
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
170256Understanding microbial community through in situ environmental 'omic data synthesisUmer Zeeshan IjazNatural Environment Research Council (NERC)NE/L011956/1ENG - Infrastructure & Environment
300451Optimising decentralised low-cost wastewater infrastructure by managing the microbesWilliam SloanEngineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)EP/P029329/1ENG - Infrastructure & Environment
309846Decentralised water technologiesWilliam SloanEngineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)EP/V030515/1ENG - Infrastructure & Environment