MiDAS 2.0: an ecosystem-specific taxonomy and online database for the organisms of wastewater treatment systems expanded for anaerobic digester groups.
ABSTRACT: Wastewater is increasingly viewed as a resource, with anaerobic digester technology being routinely implemented for biogas production. Characterising the microbial communities involved in wastewater treatment facilities and their anaerobic digesters is considered key to their optimal design and operation. Amplicon sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene allows high-throughput monitoring of these systems. The MiDAS field guide is a public resource providing amplicon sequencing protocols and an ecosystem-specific taxonomic database optimized for use with wastewater treatment facility samples. The curated taxonomy endeavours to provide a genus-level-classification for abundant phylotypes and the online field guide links this identity to published information regarding their ecology, function and distribution. This article describes the expansion of the database resources to cover the organisms of the anaerobic digester systems fed primary sludge and surplus activated sludge. The updated database includes descriptions of the abundant genus-level-taxa in influent wastewater, activated sludge and anaerobic digesters. Abundance information is also included to allow assessment of the role of emigration in the ecology of each phylotype. MiDAS is intended as a collaborative resource for the progression of research into the ecology of wastewater treatment, by providing a public repository for knowledge that is accessible to all interested in these biotechnologically important systems.http://www.midasfieldguide.org.
Project description:The Microbial Database for Activated Sludge (MiDAS) field guide is a freely available online resource linking the identity of abundant and process critical microorganisms in activated sludge wastewater treatment systems to available data related to their functional importance. Phenotypic properties of some of these genera are described, but most are known only from sequence data. The MiDAS taxonomy is a manual curation of the SILVA taxonomy that proposes a name for all genus-level taxa observed to be abundant by large-scale 16?S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing of full-scale activated sludge communities. The taxonomy can be used to classify unknown sequences, and the online MiDAS field guide links the identity to the available information about their morphology, diversity, physiology and distribution. The use of a common taxonomy across the field will provide a solid foundation for the study of microbial ecology of the activated sludge process and related treatment processes. The online MiDAS field guide is a collaborative workspace intended to facilitate a better understanding of the ecology of activated sludge and related treatment processes--knowledge that will be an invaluable resource for the optimal design and operation of these systems.
Project description:Methanogenic archaea play a key role in biogas-producing anaerobic digestion and yet remain poorly taxonomically characterized. This is in part due to the limitations of low-throughput Sanger sequencing of a single (16S rRNA) gene, which in the past may have undersampled methanogen diversity. In this study, archaeal communities from three sludge digesters in Hong Kong and one wastewater digester in China were examined using high-throughput pyrosequencing of the methyl coenzyme M reductase (mcrA) and 16S rRNA genes. Methanobacteriales, Methanomicrobiales, and Methanosarcinales were detected in each digester, indicating that both hydrogenotrophic and acetoclastic methanogenesis was occurring. Two sludge digesters had similar community structures, likely due to their similar design and feedstock. Taxonomic classification of the mcrA genes suggested that these digesters were dominated by acetoclastic methanogens, particularly Methanosarcinales, while the other digesters were dominated by hydrogenotrophic Methanomicrobiales. The proposed euryarchaeotal order Methanomassiliicoccales and the uncultured WSA2 group were detected with the 16S rRNA gene, and potential mcrA genes for these groups were identified. 16S rRNA gene sequencing also recovered several crenarchaeotal groups potentially involved in the initial anaerobic digestion processes. Overall, the two genes produced different taxonomic profiles for the digesters, while greater methanogen richness was detected using the mcrA gene, supporting the use of this functional gene as a complement to the 16S rRNA gene to better assess methanogen diversity. A significant positive correlation was detected between methane production and the abundance of mcrA transcripts in digesters treating sludge and wastewater samples, supporting the mcrA gene as a biomarker for methane yield.
Project description:Eukaryotic communities in aerobic wastewater treatment processes are well characterized, but little is known about them in anaerobic processes. In this study, abundance, diversity and morphology of eukaryotes in anaerobic sludge digesters were investigated by quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR), 18S rRNA gene clone library construction and catalyzed reporter deposition-fluorescence in situ hybridization (CARD-FISH). Samples were taken from four different anaerobic sludge digesters in Japan. Results of qPCR of rRNA genes revealed that Eukarya accounted from 0.1% to 1.4% of the total number of microbial rRNA gene copy numbers. The phylogenetic affiliations of a total of 251 clones were Fungi, Alveolata, Viridiplantae, Amoebozoa, Rhizaria, Stramenopiles and Metazoa. Eighty-five percent of the clones showed less than 97.0% sequence identity to described eukaryotes, indicating most of the eukaryotes in anaerobic sludge digesters are largely unknown. Clones belonging to the uncultured lineage LKM11 in Cryptomycota of Fungi were most abundant in anaerobic sludge, which accounted for 50% of the total clones. The most dominant OTU in each library belonged to either the LKM11 lineage or the uncultured lineage A31 in Alveolata. Principal coordinate analysis indicated that the eukaryotic and prokaryotic community structures were related. The detection of anaerobic eukaryotes, including the members of the LKM11 and A31 lineages in anaerobic sludge digesters, by CARD-FISH revealed their sizes in the range of 2-8 ?m. The diverse and uncultured eukaryotes in the LKM11 and the A31 lineages are common and ecologically relevant members in anaerobic sludge digester.
Project description:Understanding fate of antibiotic resistant bacteria (ARB) vs. their antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) during wastewater sludge treatment is critical in order to reduce the spread of antibiotic resistance through process optimization. Here, we spiked high concentrations of tetracycline-resistant bacteria, isolated from mesophilic (Iso M1-1-a Pseudomonas sp.) and thermophilic (Iso T10-a Bacillus sp.) anaerobic digested sludge, into batch digesters and monitored their fate by plate counts and quantitative polymerase chain reaction (QPCR) of their corresponding tetracycline ARGs. In batch studies, spiked ARB plate counts returned to baseline (thermophilic) or 1-log above baseline (mesophilic) while levels of the ARG present in the spiked isolate [tet(G)] remained high in mesophilic batch reactors. To compare results under semi-continuous flow conditions with natural influent variation, tet(O), tet(W), and sul1 ARGs, along with the intI1 integrase gene, were monitored over a 9-month period in the raw feed sludge and effluent sludge of lab-scale thermophilic and mesophilic anaerobic digesters. sul1 and intI1 in mesophilic and thermophilic digesters correlated positively (Spearman rho = 0.457-0.829, P < 0.05) with the raw feed sludge. There was no correlation in tet(O) or tet(W) ratios in raw sludge and mesophilic digested sludge or thermophilic digested sludge (Spearman rho = 0.130-0.486, P = 0.075-0.612). However, in the thermophilic digester, the tet(O) and tet(W) ratios remained consistently low over the entire monitoring period. We conclude that the influent sludge microbial composition can influence the ARG content of a digester, apparently as a result of differential survival or death of ARBs or horizontal gene transfer of genes between raw sludge ARBs and the digester microbial community. Notably, mesophilic digestion was more susceptible to ARG intrusion than thermophilic digestion, which may be attributed to a higher rate of ARB survival and/or horizontal gene transfer between raw sludge bacteria and the digester microbial community.
Project description:Anaerobic digestion (AD) is a microbial process widely used to treat organic wastes. While the microbes involved in digestion of municipal sludge are increasingly well characterized, the taxonomic and functional compositions of AD digesters treating industrial wastewater have been understudied. This study examined metagenomes from a biogas-producing digester treating municipal sludge in Shek Wu Hui (SWH), Hong Kong and an industrial wastewater digester in Guangzhou (GZ), China, and compared their taxonomic composition and reconstructed biochemical pathways. Genes encoding carbohydrate metabolism and protein metabolism functions were overrepresented in GZ, while genes encoding functions related to fatty acids, lipids and isoprenoids were overrepresented in SWH, reflecting the plants' feedstocks. Mapping of genera to functions in each community indicated that both digesters had a high level of functional redundancy, and a more even distribution of genera in GZ suggested that it was more functionally stable. While fermentation in both samples was dominated by Clostridia, SWH had an overrepresentation of Proteobacteria, including syntrophic acetogens, reflecting its more complex substrate. Considering the growing importance of biogas as an alternative fuel source, a detailed mechanistic understanding of AD is important and this report will be a basis for further study of industrial wastewater AD.
Project description:This study examined whether the abundance and expression of microbial 16S rRNA genes were associated with elemental concentrations and substrate conversion biokinetics in 20 full-scale anaerobic digesters, including seven municipal sewage sludge (SS) digesters and 13 industrial codigesters. SS digester contents had higher methane production rates from acetate, propionate and phenyl acetate compared to industrial codigesters. SS digesters and industrial codigesters were distinctly clustered based on their elemental concentrations, with higher concentrations of NH3 -N, Cl, K and Na observed in codigesters. Amplicon sequencing of 16S rRNA genes and reverse-transcribed 16S rRNA revealed divergent grouping of microbial communities between mesophilic SS digesters, mesophilic codigesters and thermophilic digesters. Higher intradigester distances between Archaea 16S rRNA and rRNA gene profiles were observed in mesophilic codigesters, which also had the lowest acetate utilization biokinetics. Constrained ordination showed that microbial rRNA and rRNA gene profiles were significantly associated with maximum methane production rates from acetate, propionate, oleate and phenyl acetate, as well as concentrations of NH3 -N, Fe, S, Mo and Ni. A co-occurrence network of rRNA gene expression confirmed the three main clusters of anaerobic digester communities based on active populations. Syntrophic and methanogenic taxa were highly represented within the subnetworks, indicating that obligate energy-sharing partnerships play critical roles in stabilizing the digester microbiome. Overall, these results provide new evidence showing that different feed substrates associate with different micronutrient compositions in anaerobic digesters, which in turn may influence microbial abundance, activity and function.
Project description:Anaerobic digestion is widely applied to treat organic waste at wastewater treatment plants. Characterisation of the underlying microbiology represents a source of information to develop strategies for improved operation. Hence, we investigated microbial communities of thirty-two full-scale anaerobic digesters over a six-year period using 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing. Sampling of the sludge fed into these systems revealed that several of the most abundant populations were likely inactive and immigrating with the influent. This observation indicates that a failure to consider immigration will interfere with correlation analysis and give an inaccurate picture of the growing microbial community. Furthermore, several abundant OTUs could not be classified to genus level with commonly applied taxonomies, making inference of their function unreliable and comparison to other studies problematic. As such, the existing MiDAS taxonomy was updated to include these abundant phylotypes. The communities of individual digesters surveyed were remarkably similar - with only 300 OTUs representing 80% of the total reads across all plants, and 15% of these identified as non-growing and possibly inactive immigrating microbes. By identifying abundant and growing taxa in anaerobic digestion, this study paves the way for targeted characterisation of the process-important organisms towards an in-depth understanding of the microbiology.
Project description:Treatment of emerging contaminants, such as antimicrobials, has become a priority topic for environmental protection. As a persistent, toxic, and bioaccumulative antimicrobial, the accumulation of triclosan (TCS) in wastewater sludge is creating a potential risk to human and ecosystem health via the agricultural use of biosolids. The impact of microwave (MW) pretreatment on TCS levels in municipal sludge is unknown. This study, for the first time, evaluated how MW pretreatment (80 and 160 °C) itself and together with anaerobic digestion (AD) under various sludge retention times (SRTs: 20, 12, and 6 days) and temperatures (35 and 55 °C) can affect the levels of TCS in municipal sludge. TCS and its potential transformation products were analyzed with ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography and tandem mass spectrometry. Significantly higher TCS concentrations were detected in sludge sampled from the plant in colder compared to those in warmer temperatures. MW temperature did not have a discernible impact on TCS reduction from undigested sludge. However, AD studies indicated that compared to controls (no pretreatment), MW irradiation could make TCS more amenable to biodegradation (up to 46%), especially at the elevated pretreatment and digester temperatures. At different SRTs studied, TCS levels in the thermophilic digesters were considerably lower than that of in the mesophilic digesters.
Project description:Studies investigating the feasibility of new, or improved, biotechnologies, such as wastewater treatment digesters, inevitably start with laboratory-scale trials. However, it is rarely determined whether laboratory-scale results reflect full-scale performance or microbial ecology. The Expanded Granular Sludge Bed (EGSB) bioreactor, which is a high-rate anaerobic digester configuration, was used as a model to address that knowledge gap in this study. Two laboratory-scale idealizations of the EGSB-a one-dimensional and a three- dimensional scale-down of a full-scale design-were built and operated in triplicate under near-identical conditions to a full-scale EGSB. The laboratory-scale bioreactors were seeded using biomass obtained from the full-scale bioreactor, and, spent water from the distillation of whisky from maize was applied as substrate at both scales. Over 70 days, bioreactor performance, microbial ecology, and microbial community physiology were monitored at various depths in the sludge-beds using 16S rRNA gene sequencing (V4 region), specific methanogenic activity (SMA) assays, and a range of physical and chemical monitoring methods. SMA assays indicated dominance of the hydrogenotrophic pathway at full-scale whilst a more balanced activity profile developed during the laboratory-scale trials. At each scale, Methanobacterium was the dominant methanogenic genus present. Bioreactor performance overall was better at laboratory-scale than full-scale. We observed that bioreactor design at laboratory-scale significantly influenced spatial distribution of microbial community physiology and taxonomy in the bioreactor sludge-bed, with 1-D bioreactor types promoting stratification of each. In the 1-D laboratory bioreactors, increased abundance of Firmicutes was associated with both granule position in the sludge bed and increased activity against acetate and ethanol as substrates. We further observed that stratification in the sludge-bed in 1-D laboratory-scale bioreactors was associated with increased richness in the underlying microbial community at species (OTU) level and improved overall performance.
Project description:The antibiotic monensin is fed to dairy cows to increase milk production efficiency. A fraction of this monensin is excreted into the cow manure. Previous studies have found that cow manure containing monensin can negatively impact the performance of anaerobic digesters, especially upon first introduction. Few studies have examined whether the anaerobic digester microbiome can adapt to monensin during the operating time. Here, we conducted a long-term time series study of four lab-scale anaerobic digesters fed with cow manure. We examined changes in both the microbiome composition and function of the anaerobic digesters when subjected to the dairy antibiotic monensin. In our digesters, monensin was not rapidly degraded under anaerobic conditions. The two anaerobic digesters that were subjected to manure from monensin feed-dosed cows exhibited relatively small changes in microbiome composition and function due to relatively low monensin concentrations. At higher concentrations of monensin, which we dosed directly to control manure (from dairy cows without monensin), we observed major changes in the microbiome composition and function of two anaerobic digesters. A rapid introduction of monensin to one of these anaerobic digesters led to the impairment of methane production. Conversely, more gradual additions of the same concentrations of monensin to the other anaerobic digester led to the adaptation of the anaerobic digester microbiomes to the relatively high monensin concentrations. A member of the candidate OP11 (Microgenomates) phylum arose in this anaerobic digester and appeared to be redundant with certain Bacteroidetes phylum members, which previously were dominating.IMPORTANCE Monensin is a common antibiotic given to dairy cows in the United States and is partly excreted with dairy manure. An improved understanding of how monensin affects the anaerobic digester microbiome composition and function is important to prevent process failure for farm-based anaerobic digesters. This time series study demonstrates how anaerobic digester microbiomes are inert to low monensin concentrations and can adapt to relatively high monensin concentrations by redundancy in an already existing population. Therefore, our work provides further insight into the importance of microbiome redundancy in maintaining the stability of anaerobic digesters.