Bulking and foaming are two notorious problems in activated sludge wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs), which are mainly associated with the excessive growth of bulking and foaming bacteria (BFB). However, studies on affecting factors of BFB in full-scale WWTPs are still limited. In this study, data sets of high-throughput sequencing (HTS) of 16S V3–V4 amplicons of 58 monthly activated sludge samples from a municipal WWTP was re-analyzed to investigate the BFB dynamics and further to study the determinative factors. The population of BFB occupied 0.6~36% (averagely 8.5% ± 7.3%) of the total bacteria and showed seasonal variations with higher abundance in winter-spring than summer-autumn. Pair-wise correlation analysis and canonical correlation analysis (CCA) showed that Gordonia sp. was positively correlated with NO2-N and negatively correlated with NO3-N, and Nostocodia limicola II Tetraspharea sp. was negatively correlated with temperature and positively correlated with NH3-N in activated sludge. Bacteria species correlated with BFB could be clustered into two negatively related modules. Moreover, with intensive time series sampling, the dominant BFB could be accurately modeled with environmental interaction network, i.e. environmental parameters and biotic interactions between BFB and related bacteria, indicating that abiotic and biotic factors were both crucial to the dynamics of BFB.

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