Microbial Consortium with High Cellulolytic Activity (MCHCA) for Enhanced Biogas Production.
ABSTRACT: The use of lignocellulosic biomass as a substrate in agricultural biogas plants is very popular and yields good results. However, the efficiency of anaerobic digestion, and thus biogas production, is not always satisfactory due to the slow or incomplete degradation (hydrolysis) of plant matter. To enhance the solubilization of the lignocellulosic biomass various physical, chemical and biological pretreatment methods are used. The aim of this study was to select and characterize cellulose-degrading bacteria, and to construct a microbial consortium, dedicated for degradation of maize silage and enhancing biogas production from this substrate. Over 100 strains of cellulose-degrading bacteria were isolated from: sewage sludge, hydrolyzer from an agricultural biogas plant, cattle slurry and manure. After physiological characterization of the isolates, 16 strains (representatives of Bacillus, Providencia, and Ochrobactrum genera) were chosen for the construction of a Microbial Consortium with High Cellulolytic Activity, called MCHCA. The selected strains had a high endoglucanase activity (exceeding 0.21 IU/mL CMCase activity) and a wide range of tolerance to various physical and chemical conditions. Lab-scale simulation of biogas production using the selected strains for degradation of maize silage was carried out in a two-bioreactor system, similar to those used in agricultural biogas plants. The obtained results showed that the constructed MCHCA consortium is capable of efficient hydrolysis of maize silage, and increases biogas production by even 38%, depending on the inoculum used for methane fermentation. The results in this work indicate that the mesophilic MCHCA has a great potential for application on industrial scale in agricultural biogas plants.
Project description:A well-balanced microbial consortium is crucial for efficient biogas production. In turn, one of a major factor that influence on the structure of anaerobic digestion (AD) consortium is a source of microorganisms which are used as an inoculum. This study evaluated the influence of inoculum sources (with various origin) on adaptation of a biogas community and the efficiency of the biomethanization of maize silage. As initial inocula for AD of maize silage the samples from: (i) an agricultural biogas plant (ABP) which utilizes maize silage as a main substrate, (ii) cattle slurry (CS), which contain elevated levels of lignocelluloses materials, and (iii) raw sewage sludge (RSS) with low content of plant origin materials were used. The adaptation of methanogenic consortia was monitored during a series of passages, and the functionality of the adapted consortia was verified through start-up operation of AD in two-stage reactors. During the first stages of the adaptation phase, methanogenic consortia occurred very slowly, and only after several passages did the microbial community adapts to allow production of biogas with high methane content. The ABP consortium revealed highest biogas production in the adaptation and in the start-up process. The biodiversity dynamics monitored during adaptation and start-up process showed that community profile changed in a similar direction in three studied consortia. Native communities were very distinct to each other, while at the end of the Phase II of the start-up process microbial diversity profile was similar in all consortia. All adopted bacterial communities were dominated by representatives of Porphyromonadaceae, Rikenellaceae, Ruminococcaceae, and Synergistaceae. A shift from low acetate-preferring acetoclastic Methanosaetaceae (ABP and RSS) and/or hydrogenotrophic Archaea, e.g., Methanomicrobiaceae (CS) prevailing in the inoculum samples to larger populations of high acetate-preferring acetoclastic Methanosarcinaceae was observed by the end of the experiment. As a result, three independent, functional communities that syntrophically produced methane from acetate (primarily) and H2/CO2, methanol and methylamines were adapted. This study provides new insights into the specific process by which different inocula sampled from typical methanogenic environments that are commonly used to initiate industrial installations gradually adapted to allow biogas production from maize silage.
Project description:The aim of this study was to evaluate life cycle environmental impacts associated with the generation of electricity from biogas produced by the anaerobic digestion (AD) of agricultural products and waste. Five real plants in Italy were considered, using maize silage, slurry, and tomato waste as feedstocks and cogenerating electricity and heat; the latter is not utilized. The results suggest that maize silage and the operation of anaerobic digesters, including open storage of digestate, are the main contributors to the impacts of biogas electricity. The system that uses animal slurry is the best option, except for the marine and terrestrial ecotoxicity. The results also suggest that it is environmentally better to have smaller plants using slurry and waste rather than bigger installations, which require maize silage to operate efficiently. Electricity from biogas is environmentally more sustainable than grid electricity for seven out of 11 impacts considered. However, in comparison with natural gas, biogas electricity is worse for seven out of 11 impacts. It also has mostly higher impacts than other renewables, with a few exceptions, notably solar photovoltaics. Thus, for the AD systems and mesophilic operating conditions considered in this study, biogas electricity can help reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions relative to a fossil-intensive electricity mix; however, some other impacts increase. If mitigation of climate change is the main aim, other renewables have a greater potential to reduce GHG emissions. If, in addition to this, other impacts are considered, then hydro, wind, and geothermal power are better alternatives to biogas electricity. However, utilization of heat would improve significantly its environmental sustainability, particularly global warming potential, summer smog, and the depletion of abiotic resources and the ozone layer. Further improvements can be achieved by banning open digestate storage to prevent methane emissions and regulating digestate spreading onto land to minimize emissions of ammonia and related environmental impacts.
Project description:The study presents a comparison of the influence of a clinoptilolite-rich rock-zeolite (commonly used for improving anaerobic digestion processes)-and a highly porous clay mineral, halloysite (mainly used for gas purification), on the biogas production process. Batch experiments showed that the addition of each mineral increased the efficiency of mesophilic anaerobic digestion of both sewage sludge and maize silage. However, halloysite generated 15% higher biogas production during maize silage transformation. Halloysite also contributed to a much higher reduction of chemical oxygen demand for both substrates (by ~8% for maize silage and ~14% for sewage sludge) and a higher reduction of volatile solids and total ammonia for maize silage (by ~8% and ~4%, respectively). Metagenomic analysis of the microbial community structure showed that the addition of both mineral sorbents influenced the presence of key members of archaea and bacteria occurring in a well-operated biogas reactor. The significant difference between zeolite and halloysite is that the latter promoted the immobilization of key methanogenic archaea Methanolinea (belong to Methanomicrobia class). Based on this result, we postulate that halloysite could be useful not only as a sorbent for (bio)gas treatment methodologies but also as an agent for improving biogas production.
Project description:In this study the response of biogas-producing microbiomes to a profound feedstock change was investigated. The microbiomes were adapted to the digestion of either 100% sugar beet, maize silage, or of the silages with elevated amounts of total ammonium nitrogen (TAN) by adding ammonium carbonate or animal manure. The feedstock exchange resulted in a short-range decrease or increase in the biogas yields according to the level of chemical feedstock complexity. Fifteen taxa were found in all reactors and can be considered as generalists. Thirteen taxa were detected in the reactors operated with low TAN and six in the reactors with high TAN concentration. Taxa assigned to the phylum Bacteroidetes and to the order Spirochaetales increased with the exchange to sugar beet silage, indicating an affinity to easily degradable compounds. The recorded TAN-sensitive taxa (phylum Cloacimonetes) showed no specific affinity to maize or sugar beet silage. The archaeal community remained unchanged. The reported findings showed a smooth adaptation of the microbial communities, without a profound negative impact on the overall biogas production indicating that the two feedstocks, sugar beet and maize silage, potentially do not contain chemical compounds that are difficult to handle during anaerobic digestion.
Project description:Comparative analysis of methanogenic archaea compositions and dynamics in 11 laboratory-scale continuous stirred tank reactors fed with different agricultural materials (chicken manure, cattle manure, maize straw, maize silage, distillers grains, and Jatropha press cake) was carried out by analysis of the methyl coenzyme-M reductase ?-subunit (mcrA) gene. Various taxa within Methanomicrobiales, Methanobacteriaceae, Methanosarcinaceae, Methanosaetaceae, and Methanomassiliicoccales were detected in the biogas reactors but in different proportions depending on the substrate type utilized as well as various process parameters. Improved coverage and higher taxonomic resolution of methanogens were obtained compared to a previous 16S rRNA gene based study of the same reactors. Some members of the genus Methanoculleus positively correlated with the relative methane content, whereas opposite correlations were found for Methanobacterium. Specific biogas production was found to be significantly correlating with Methanosarcinaceae. Statistical analysis also disclosed that some members of the genus Methanoculleus positively correlated with the ammonia level, whereas the prevalence of Methanocorpusculum, Methanobacterium, and Methanosaeta was negatively correlated with this parameter. These results suggest that the application of methanogenic archaea adapted to specific feedstock might enhance the anaerobic digestion of such waste materials in full-scale biogas reactors.
Project description:Maize has great potential, especially as a substrate for biofuels production. The aim of this paper is to analyze the possibility of usage in methane fermentation maize straw harvested in different weather conditions, which had an influence on different physical parameters, mainly the dry mass content. The research has shown that maize straw harvested in Central-Eastern Europe can have a broad spectrum of dry mass content, which is related to diverse weather conditions during autumn. However, independently from moisture content, maize straw can be a good (for more wet material) or very good (for more dried straw) substrate for the biogas plant. With the methane productivity reaching 201-207 m3/Mg of fresh mass, this material is a significantly better substrate than that typically used in Europe maize silage (approximately 105 m3/Mg FM). It was noted that the retention time for maize straw (36-42 days) is longer than in the case of maize silage (less than 30 days). However, this difference is quite small and can be accepted by the biogas plant operators.
Project description:BACKGROUND:In recent years, various substrates have been tested to increase the sustainable production of biomethane. The effect of these substrates on methanogenesis has been investigated mainly in small volume fermenters and were, for the most part, focused on studying the diversity of mesophilic microorganisms. However, studies of thermophilic communities in large scale operating mesophilic biogas plants do not yet exist. METHODS:Microbiological, biochemical, biophysical methods, and statistical analysis were used to track thermophilic communities in mesophilic anaerobic digesters. RESULTS:The diversity of the main thermophile genera in eight biogas plants located in the Czech Republic using different input substrates was investigated. In total, 19 thermophilic genera were detected after 16S rRNA gene sequencing. The highest percentage (40.8%) of thermophiles was found in the Mod?ice biogas plant where the input substrate was primary sludge and biological sludge (50/50, w/w %). The smallest percentage (1.87%) of thermophiles was found in the ?ej? biogas plant with the input substrate being maize silage and liquid pig manure (80/20, w/w %). CONCLUSIONS:The composition of the anaerobic consortia in anaerobic digesters is an important factor for the biogas plant operator. The present study can help characterizing the impact of input feeds on the composition of microbial communities in these plants.
Project description:This study investigated the development of the microbial community during a long-term (337 days) anaerobic digestion of maize and sugar beet silage, two feedstocks that significantly differ in their chemical composition. For the characterization of the microbial dynamics, the community profiling method terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (TRFLP) in combination with a cloning-sequencing approach was applied. Our results revealed a specific adaptation of the microbial community to the supplied feedstocks. Based on the high amount of complex compounds, the anaerobic conversion rate of maize silage was slightly lower compared with the sugar beet silage. It was demonstrated that members from the phylum Bacteroidetes are mainly involved in the degradation of low molecular weight substances such as sugar, ethanol and acetate, the main compounds of the sugar beet silage. It was further shown that species of the genus Methanosaeta are highly sensitive against sudden stress situations such as a strong decrease in the ammonium nitrogen (NH?(+)-N) concentration or a drop of the pH value. In both cases, a functional compensation by members of the genera Methanoculleus and/or Methanosarcina was detected. However, the overall biomass conversion of both feedstocks proceeded efficiently as a steady state between acid production and consumption was recorded, which further resulted in an equal biogas yield.
Project description:Numerous observations indicate a high flexibility of microbial communities in different biogas reactors during anaerobic digestion. Here, we describe the functional redundancy and structural changes of involved microbial communities in four lab-scale continuously stirred tank reactors (CSTRs, 39°C, 12?L volume) supplied with different mixtures of maize silage (MS) and sugar beet silage (SBS) over 80 days. Continuously stirred tank reactors were fed with mixtures of MS and SBS in volatile solid ratios of 1:0 (Continuous Fermenter (CF) 1), 6:1 (CF2), 3:1 (CF3), 1:3 (CF4) with equal organic loading rates (OLR 1.25?kgVS?m(-3) ?d(-1) ) and showed similar biogas production rates in all reactors. The compositions of bacterial and archaeal communities were analysed by 454 amplicon sequencing approach based on 16S rRNA genes. Both bacterial and archaeal communities shifted with increasing amounts of SBS. Especially pronounced were changes in the archaeal composition towards Methanosarcina with increasing proportion of SBS, while Methanosaeta declined simultaneously. Compositional shifts within the microbial communities did not influence the respective biogas production rates indicating that these communities adapted to environmental conditions induced by different feedstock mixtures. The diverse microbial communities optimized their metabolism in a way that ensured efficient biogas production.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Although interactions between microorganisms involved in biogas production are largely uncharted, it is commonly accepted that methanogenic Archaea are essential for the process. Methanogens thrive in various environments, but the most extensively studied communities come from biogas plants. In this study, we employed a metagenomic analysis of deeply sequenced methanogenic communities, which allowed for comparison of taxonomic and functional diversity as well as identification of microorganisms directly involved in various stages of methanogenesis pathways. RESULTS:A comprehensive metagenomic approach was used to compare seven environmental communities, originating from an agricultural biogas plant, cattle-associated samples, a lowland bog, sewage sludge from a wastewater treatment plant and sediments from an ancient gold mine. In addition to the native consortia, two laboratory communities cultivated on maize silage as the sole substrate were also analyzed. Results showed that all anaerobic communities harbored genes of all known methanogenesis pathways, but their abundance varied greatly between environments and that genes were encoded by different methanogens. Identification of microorganisms directly involved in different stages of methane production revealed that hydrogenotrophic methanogens, such as Methanoculleus, Methanobacterium, Methanobrevibacter, Methanocorpusculum or Methanoregula, predominated in most native communities, whereas acetoclastic Methanosaeta seemed to be the key methanogen in the wastewater treatment plant. Furthermore, in many environments, the methylotrophic pathway carried out by representatives of Methanomassiliicoccales, such as Candidatus Methanomethylophilus and Candidatus Methanoplasma, seemed to play an important role in methane production. In contrast, in stable laboratory reactors substrate versatile Methanosarcina predominated. CONCLUSIONS:The metagenomic approach presented in this study allowed for deep exploration and comparison of nine environments in which methane production occurs. Different abundance of methanogenesis-related functions was observed and the functions were analyzed in the phylogenetic context in order to identify microbes directly involved in methane production. In addition, a comparison of two metagenomic analytical tools, MG-RAST and MetAnnotate, revealed that combination of both allows for a precise characterization of methanogenic communities.