Low-temperature (10°C) anaerobic digestion of dilute dairy wastewater in an EGSB bioreactor: microbial community structure, population dynamics, and kinetics of methanogenic populations.
ABSTRACT: The feasibility of anaerobic digestion of dairy wastewater at 10°C was investigated in a high height : diameter ratio EGSB reactor. Stable performance was observed at an applied organic loading rate (OLR) of 0.5-2 kg COD m(-3) d(-1) with chemical oxygen demand (COD) removal efficiencies above 85%. When applied OLR increased to values above 2 kg COD m(-3) d(-1), biotreatment efficiency deteriorated, with methanogenesis being the rate-limiting step. The bioreactor recovered quickly (3 days) after reduction of the OLR. qPCR results showed a reduction in the abundance of hydrogenotrophic methanogenic Methanomicrobiales and Methanobacteriales throughout the steady state period followed by a sharp increase in their numbers (111-fold) after the load shock. Specific methanogenic activity and maximum substrate utilising rate (A(max)) of the biomass at the end of trial indicated increased activity and preference towards hydrogenotrophic methanogenesis, which correlated well with the increased abundance of hydrogenotrophic methanogens. Acetoclastic Methanosaeta spp. remained at stable levels throughout the trial. However, increased apparent half-saturation constant (K(m)) at the end of the trial indicated a decrease in the specific substrate affinity for acetate of the sludge, suggesting that Methanosaeta spp., which have high substrate affinity, started to be outcompeted in the reactor.
Project description:The anaerobic digestion of filter cake and its co-digestion with bagasse, and the effect of gradual increase of the organic loading rate (OLR) from start-up to overload were investigated. Understanding the influence of environmental and technical parameters on the development of particular methanogenic pathway in the biogas process was an important aim for the prediction and prevention of process failure. The rapid accumulation of volatile organic acids at high OLR of 3.0 to 4.0 gvs·L?¹·day?¹ indicated strong process inhibition. Methanogenic community dynamics of the reactors was monitored by stable isotope composition of biogas and molecular biological analysis. A potential shift toward the aceticlastic methanogenesis was observed along with the OLR increase under stable reactor operating conditions. Reactor overloading and process failure were indicated by the tendency to return to a predominance of hydrogenotrophic methanogenesis with rising abundances of the orders Methanobacteriales and Methanomicrobiales and drop of the genus Methanosarcina abundance.
Project description:In this research, the feasibility of, and population dynamics in, one-step anaerobic sequencing batch reactor systems treating the fine sieved fraction (FSF) from raw municipal wastewater was studied under thermophilic (55 °C) and mesophilic (35 °C) conditions. FSF was sequestered from raw municipal wastewater, in the Netherlands, using a rotating belt filter (mesh size 350 micron). FSF is a heterogeneous substrate that mainly consists of fibres originating from toilet paper and thus contains a high cellulosic fraction (60-80 % of total solids content), regarded as an energy-rich material.Results of the 656-day fed-batch operation clearly showed that thermophilic digestion was more stable, applying high organic loading rates (OLR) up to 22 kg COD/(m(3) day). In contrast, the mesophilic digester already failed applying an OLR of 5.5 kg COD/(m(3) day), indicated by a drop in pH and increase in volatile fatty acids (VFAs). The observed viscosity values of the mesophilic sludge were more than tenfold higher than the thermophilic sludge. 454-pyrosequencing of eight mesophilic and eight thermophilic biomass samples revealed that Bacteroides and aceticlastic methanogen Methanosaeta were the dominant genera in the mesophilic digester, whereas OP9 lineages, Clostridium and the hydrogenotrophic methanogen Methanothermobacter dominated the thermophilic one.Our study suggests that applying thermophilic conditions for FSF digestion would result in a higher biogas production rate and/or a smaller required reactor volume, comparing to mesophilic conditions.
Project description:Methanogenesis and sulfidogenesis, the major microbial reduction reactions occurring in the anaerobic digestion (AD) process, compete for common substrates. Therefore, the balance between methanogenic and sulfidogenic activities is important for efficient biogas production. In this study, changes in methanogenic and sulfidogenic performances in response to changes in organic loading rate (OLR) were examined in two digesters treating sulfur-rich macroalgal waste under mesophilic and thermophilic conditions, respectively. Both methanogenesis and sulfidogenesis were largely suppressed under thermophilic relative to mesophilic conditions, regardless of OLR. However, the suppressive effect was even more significant for sulfidogenesis, which may suggest an option for H2S control. The reactor microbial communities developed totally differently according to reactor temperature, with the abundance of both methanogens and sulfate-reducing bacteria being significantly higher under mesophilic conditions. In both reactors, sulfidogenic activity increased with increasing OLR. The findings of this study help to understand how temperature affects sulfidogenesis and methanogenesis during AD.
Project description:The effect of sulfate addition on the stability of, and microbial community behavior in, low-temperature anaerobic expanded granular sludge bed-based bioreactors was investigated at 15°C. Efficient bioreactor performance was observed, with chemical oxygen demand (COD) removal efficiencies of >90%, and a mean SO(2-) 4 removal rate of 98.3%. In situ methanogensis appeared unaffected at a COD: SO(2-) 4 influent ratio of 8:1, and subsequently of 3:1, and was impacted marginally only when the COD: SO(2-) 4 ratio was 1:2. Specific methanogenic activity assays indicated a complex set of interactions between sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB), methanogens and homoacetogenic bacteria. SO(2-) 4 addition resulted in predominantly acetoclastic, rather than hydrogenotrophic, methanogenesis until >600 days of SO(2-) 4-influenced bioreactor operation. Temporal microbial community development was monitored by denaturation gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) of 16S rRNA genes. Fluorescence in situ hybridizations (FISH), qPCR and microsensor analysis were combined to investigate the distribution of microbial groups, and particularly SRB and methanogens, along the structure of granular biofilms. qPCR data indicated that sulfidogenic genes were present in methanogenic and sulfidogenic biofilms, indicating the potential for sulfate reduction even in bioreactors not exposed to SO(2-) 4. Although the architecture of methanogenic and sulfidogenic granules was similar, indicating the presence of SRB even in methanogenic systems, FISH with rRNA targets found that the SRB were more abundant in the sulfidogenic biofilms. Methanosaeta species were the predominant, keystone members of the archaeal community, with the complete absence of the Methanosarcina species in the experimental bioreactor by trial conclusion. Microsensor data suggested the ordered distribution of sulfate reduction and sulfide accumulation, even in methanogenic granules.
Project description:The main objectives of this study were to uncover the pathways used for methanogenesis in three different boreal peatland ecosystems and to describe the methanogenic populations involved. The mesotrophic fen had the lowest proportion of CH4 produced from H2-CO2. The oligotrophic fen was the most hydrogenotrophic, followed by the ombrotrophic bog. Each site was characterized by a specific group of methanogenic sequences belonging to Methanosaeta spp. (mesotrophic fen), rice cluster-I (oligotrophic fen), and fen cluster (ombrotrophic bog).
Project description:Biological methanogenesis is linked to permanent water logged systems, e.g., rice field soils or lake sediments. In these systems the methanogenic community as well as the pathway of methane formation are well-described. By contrast, the methanogenic potential of river sediments is so far not well-investigated. Therefore, we analyzed (a) the methanogenic potential (incubation experiments), (b) the pathway of methane production (stable carbon isotopes and inhibitor studies), and (c) the methanogenic community composition (terminal restriction length polymorphism of mcrA) in depth profiles of sediment cores of River Sitka, Czech Republic. We found two depth-related distinct maxima for the methanogenic potentials (a) The pathway of methane production was dominated by hydrogenotrophic methanogenesis (b) The methanogenic community composition was similar in all depth layers (c) The main TRFs were representative for Methanosarcina, Methanosaeta, Methanobacterium, and Methanomicrobium species. The isotopic signals of acetate indicated a relative high contribution of chemolithotrophic acetogenesis to the acetate pool.
Project description:Closing water loops in chemical industries result in hot and highly saline residual streams, often characterized by high strength and the presence of refractory or toxic compounds. These streams are attractive for anaerobic technologies, provided the chemical compounds are biodegradable. However, under such harsh conditions, effective biomass immobilization is difficult, limiting the use of the commonly applied sludge bed reactors. In this study, we assessed the long-term phenol conversion capacity of a lab-scale anaerobic membrane bioreactor (AnMBR) operated at 55°C, and high salinity (18 gNa+.L-1). Over 388 days, bioreactor performance and microbial community dynamics were monitored using specific methanogenic activity (SMA) assays, phenol conversion rate assays, volatile fatty acids permeate characterization and Illumina MiSeq analysis of 16S rRNA gene sequences. Phenol accumulation to concentrations exceeding 600 mgPh.L-1 in the reactor significantly reduced methanogenesis at different phases of operation, while applying a phenol volumetric loading rate of 0.12 gPh.L-1.d-1. Stable AnMBR reactor performance could be attained by applying a sludge phenol loading rate of about 20 mgPh.gVSS-1.d-1. In situ maximum phenol conversion rates of 21.3 mgPh.gVSS-1 .d-1 were achieved, whereas conversion rates of 32.8 mgPh.gVSS-1 .d-1 were assessed in ex situ batch tests at the end of the operation. The absence of caproate as intermediate inferred that the phenol conversion pathway likely occurred via carboxylation to benzoate. Strikingly, the hydrogenotrophic SMA of 0.34 gCOD-CH4 .gVSS-1 .d-1 of the AnMBR biomass significantly exceeded the acetotrophic SMA, which only reached 0.15 gCOD-CH4 .gVSS-1 .d-1. Our results indicated that during the course of the experiment, acetate conversion gradually changed from acetoclastic methanogenesis to acetate oxidation coupled to hydrogenotrophic methanogenesis. Correspondingly, hydrogenotrophic methanogens of the class Methanomicrobia, together with Synergistia, Thermotogae, and Clostridia classes, dominated the microbial community and were enriched during the three phases of operation, while the aceticlastic Methanosaeta species remarkably decreased. Our findings clearly showed that highly saline phenolic wastewaters could be satisfactorily treated in a thermophilic AnMBR and that the specific phenol conversion capacity was limiting the treatment process. The possibility of efficient chemical wastewater treatment under the challenging studied conditions would represent a major breakthrough for the widespread application of AnMBR technology.
Project description:Methanogenic community structure and dynamics were investigated in two different, replicated anaerobic wastewater treatment reactor configurations [inverted fluidized bed (IFB) and expanded granular sludge bed (EGSB)] treating synthetic dairy wastewater, during operating temperature transitions from 37°C to 25°C, and from 25°C to 15°C, over a 430-day trial. Non-metric multidimensional scaling (NMS) and moving-window analyses, based on quantitative real-time PCR data, along with denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) profiling, demonstrated that the methanogenic communities developed in a different manner in these reactor configurations. A comparable level of performance was recorded for both systems at 37°C and 25°C, but a more dynamic and diverse microbial community in the IFB reactors supported better stability and adaptative capacity towards low temperature operation. The emergence and maintenance of particular bacterial genotypes (phylum Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes) was associated with efficient protein hydrolysis in the IFB, while protein hydrolysis was inefficient in the EGSB. A significant community shift from a Methanobacteriales and Methanosaetaceae towards a Methanomicrobiales-predominated community was demonstrated during operation at 15°C in both reactor configurations.
Project description:Anoxic sediments from Rotsee (Switzerland) were analyzed for the presence and diversity of methanogens by using molecular tools and for methanogenic activity by using radiotracer techniques, in addition to the measurement of chemical profiles. After PCR-assisted sequence retrieval of the 16S rRNA genes (16S rDNA) from the anoxic sediment of Rotsee, cloning, and sequencing, a phylogenetic analysis identified two clusters of sequences and four separated clones. The sequences in cluster 1 grouped with those of Methanosaeta spp., whereas the sequences in cluster 2 comprised the methanogenic endosymbiont of Plagiopyla nasuta. Discriminative oligonucleotide probes were constructed against both clusters and two of the separated clones. These probes were used subsequently for the analysis of indigenous methanogens in a core of the sediment, in addition to domain-specific probes against members of the domains Bacteria and Archaea and the fluorescent stain 4', 6-diamidino-2-phenylindole (DAPI), by fluorescent in situ hybridization. After DAPI staining, the highest microbial density was obtained in the upper sediment layer; this density decreased with depth from (1.01 +/- 0.25) x 10(10) to (2.62 +/- 0.58) x 10(10) cells per g of sediment (dry weight). This zone corresponded to that of highest metabolic activity, as indicated by the ammonia, alkalinity, and pH profiles, whereas the methane profile was constant. Probes Eub338 and Arch915 detected on average 16 and 6% of the DAPI-stained cells as members of the domains Bacteria and Archaea, respectively. Probe Rotcl1 identified on average 4% of the DAPI-stained cells as Methanosaeta spp., which were present throughout the whole core. In contrast, probe Rotcl2 identified only 0.7% of the DAPI-stained cells as relatives of the methanogenic endosymbiont of P. nasuta, which was present exclusively in the upper 2 cm of the sediment. Probes Rotp13 and Rotp17 did not detect any cells. The spatial distribution of the two methanogenic populations corresponded well to the methane production rates determined by incubation with either [14C]acetate or [14C]bicarbonate. Methanogenesis from acetate accounted for almost all of the total methane production, which concurs with the predominance of acetoclastic Methanosaeta spp. that represented on average 91% of the archaeal population. Significant hydrogenotrophic methanogenesis was found only in the organically enriched upper 2 cm of the sediment, where the probably hydrogenotrophic relatives of the methanogenic endosymbiont of P. nasuta, accounting on average for 7% of the archaeal population, were also detected.
Project description:Anaerobic digestion (AD) is a complex multi-stage process relying on the activity of highly diverse microbial communities including hydrolytic, acidogenic and syntrophic acetogenic bacteria as well as methanogenic archaea. The lower diversity of methanogenic archaea compared to the bacterial groups involved in AD and the corresponding lack of functional redundancy cause a stronger susceptibility of methanogenesis to unfavorable process conditions such as trace element (TE) deprivation, thus controlling the stability of the overall process. Here, we investigated the effects of a slowly increasing TE deficit on the methanogenic community function in a semi-continuous biogas process. The aim of the study was to understand how methanogens in digester communities cope with TE limitation and sustain their growth and metabolic activity. Two lab-scale biogas reactors fed with distillers grains and supplemented with TEs were operated in parallel for 76 weeks before one of the reactors was subjected to TE deprivation, leading to a decline of cobalt and molybdenum concentrations from 0.9 to 0.2 mg/L, nickel concentrations from 2.9 to 0.8 mg/L, manganese concentrations from 38 to 18 mg/L, and tungsten concentrations from 1.4 to 0.2 mg/L. Amplicon sequencing of mcrA genes revealed Methanosarcina (72%) and Methanoculleus (23%) as the predominant methanogens in the undisturbed reactors. With increasing TE limitation, the relative abundance of Methanosarcina dropped to 67% and a slight decrease of acetoclastic methanogenic activity was observed in batch tests with 13C-methyl-labeled acetate, suggesting a shift toward syntrophic acetate oxidation coupled to hydrogenotrophic methanogenesis. Metaproteome analysis revealed abundance shifts of the enzymes involved in methanogenic pathways. Proteins involved in methylotrophic and acetoclastic methanogenesis decreased in abundance while formylmethanofuran dehydrogenase from Methanosarcinaceae increased, confirming our hypothesis of a shift from acetoclastic to hydrogenotrophic methanogenesis by Methanosarcina. Both Methanosarcina and Methanoculleus increased the abundance of N5-methyltetrahydromethanopterin-coenzyme M methyltransferase and methyl-coenzyme M reductase. However, these efforts to preserve the ion motive force for energy conservation were seemingly more successful in Methanoculleus. We conclude that both methanogenic genera use different strategies to stabilize their energy balance under TE limitation. Methanosarcina switched from TE expensive pathways (methylotrophic and acetoclastic methanogenesis) to hydrogenotrophic methanogenesis. Methanoculleus showed a higher robustness and was favored over the more fastidious Methanosarcina, thus stabilizing reactor performance under TE limitation.