Continuous treatment of the insensitive munitions compound N-methyl-p-nitro aniline (MNA) in an upflow anaerobic sludge blanket (UASB) bioreactor.
ABSTRACT: N-methyl-p-nitroaniline (MNA) is an ingredient of insensitive munitions (IM) compounds that serves as a plasticizer and helps reduce unwanted detonations. As its use becomes widespread, MNA waste streams will be generated, necessitating viable treatment options. We studied MNA biodegradation and its inhibition potential to a representative anaerobic microbial population in wastewater treatment, methanogens. Anaerobic biodegradation and toxicity assays were performed and an up-flow anaerobic sludge blanket reactor (UASB) was operated to test continuous degradation of MNA. MNA was transformed almost stoichiometrically to N-methyl-p-phenylenediamine (MPD). MPD was not mineralized; however, it was readily autoxidized and polymerized extensively upon aeration at pH = 9. In the UASB reactor, MNA was fully degraded up to a loading rate of 297.5 ?M MNA d(-1). Regarding toxicity, MNA was very inhibitory to acetoclastic methanogens (IC50 = 103 ?M) whereas MPD was much less toxic, causing only 13.9% inhibition at the highest concentration tested (1025 ?M). The results taken as a whole indicate that anaerobic sludge can transform MNA to MPD continuously, and that the transformation decreases the cytotoxicity of the parent pollutant. MPD can be removed through extensive polymerization. These insights could help define efficient treatment options for waste streams polluted with MNA.
Project description:The redox-mediating capacity of magnetic reduced graphene oxide nanosacks (MNS) to promote the reductive biodegradation of the halogenated pollutant, iopromide (IOP), was tested. Experiments were performed using glucose as electron donor in an upflow anaerobic sludge blanket (UASB) reactor under methanogenic conditions. Higher removal efficiency of IOP in the UASB reactor supplied with MNS as redox mediator was observed as compared with the control reactor lacking MNS. Results showed 82% of IOP removal efficiency under steady state conditions in the UASB reactor enriched with MNS, while the reactor control showed IOP removal efficiency of 51%. The precise microbial transformation pathway of IOP was elucidated by high-performance liquid chromatography coupled to mass spectroscopy (HPLC-MS) analysis. Biotransformation by-products with lower molecular weight than IOP molecule were identified in the reactor supplied with MNS, which were not detected in the reactor control, indicating the contribution of these magnetic nano-carbon composites in the redox conversion of this halogenated pollutant. Reductive reactions of IOP favored by MNS led to complete dehalogenation of the benzene ring and partial rupture of side chains of this pollutant, which is the first step towards its complete biodegradation. Possible reductive mechanisms that took place in the biodegradation of IOP were stated. Finally, the novel and successful application of magnetic graphene composites in a continuous bioreactor to enhance the microbial transformation of IOP was demonstrated.
Project description:According to the U.S. Department of Energy and the European Union, tellurium is a critical element needed for energy and defense technology. Thus methods are needed to recover tellurium from waste streams. The objectives of this study was to determine the feasibility of utilizing upflow anaerobic sludge bed (UASB) reactors to convert toxic tellurite (TeIV) oxyanions to non-toxic insoluble elemental tellurium (Te0) nanoparticles (NP) that are amendable to separation from aqueous effluents. The reactors were supplied with ethanol as the electron donating substrate to promote the biological reduction of TeIV. One reactor was additionally amended with the redox mediating flavonoid compound, riboflavin (RF), with the goal of enhancing the bioreduction of TeIV. Its performance was compared to a control reactor lacking RF. The continuous formation of Te0 NPs using the UASB reactors was found to be feasible and remarkably improved by the addition of RF. The presence of this flavonoid was previously shown to enhance the conversion rate of TeIV by approximately 11-fold. In this study, we demonstrated that this was associated with the added benefit of reducing the toxic impact of TeIV towards the methanogenic consortium in the UASB and thus enabled a 4.7-fold higher conversion rate of the chemical oxygen demand. Taken as a whole, this work demonstrates the potential of a methanogenic granular sludge to be applied as a bioreactor technology producing recoverable Te0 NPs in a continuous fashion.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Recently, it has been indicated that anaerobic co-digestion of waste activated sludge with other waste streams at wastewater treatment plants is a promising strategy for enhancing methane production and materials recovery. The enhanced methane production can be used as a renewable source of energy in wastewater treatment plants. It can also reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emission in landfilling of the waste streams. RESULTS:According to the results obtained in this study, anaerobic co-digestion of waste activated sludge with mixed fruit waste and cheese whey improves methane production and the quality of digested sludge in comparison to the anaerobic digestion of waste activated sludge individually. It was indicated that carbon/nitrogen ratio (C/N) in the mixture of waste activated sludge, fruit waste and cheese whey improved considerably, leading to better anaerobic organisms' activity during digestion. With assessing the activity of protease and cellulase, as the main enzymes hydrolyzing organic matter in anaerobic digestion, it was indicated that co-digestion of waste activated sludge with mixed fruit waste and cheese whey enhances the activity of these enzymes by 22 and 9% respectively. At the end of digestion, the amount of cumulative methane production significantly increased by 31% in the reactor with 85% waste activated sludge and 15% mixed fruit waste and cheese whey, compared to the reactor with 100% waste activated sludge. In addition, chemical oxygen demand (COD) and volatile solid (VS) in digested sludge was improved respectively by 9 and 7% when mixed fruit waste and cheese whey was used. CONCLUSIONS:This study revealed that mixed fruit waste and cheese whey is potentially applicable to anaerobic digestion of waste activated sludge, as fruit waste and cheese whey have high C/N ratio that enhance low C/N in waste activated sludge and provide a better diet for anaerobic organisms. This is of significant importance because not only could higher amount of renewable energy be generated from the enhanced methane production in wastewater treatment plants, but also capital costs of the companies whose waste streams are being transported to wastewater treatments plants could be reduced considerably.
Project description:Upflow anaerobic sludge blanket (UASB) reactor has served as an effective process to treat industrial wastewater such as purified terephthalic acid (PTA) wastewater. For optimal UASB performance, balanced ecological interactions between syntrophs, methanogens, and fermenters are critical. However, much of the interactions remain unclear because UASB have been studied at a "macro"-level perspective of the reactor ecosystem. In reality, such reactors are composed of a suite of granules, each forming individual micro-ecosystems treating wastewater. Thus, typical approaches may be oversimplifying the complexity of the microbial ecology and granular development. To identify critical microbial interactions at both macro- and micro- level ecosystem ecology, we perform community and network analyses on 300 PTA-degrading granules from a lab-scale UASB reactor and two full-scale reactors. Based on MiSeq-based 16S rRNA gene sequencing of individual granules, different granule-types co-exist in both full-scale reactors regardless of granule size and reactor sampling depth, suggesting that distinct microbial interactions occur in different granules throughout the reactor. In addition, we identify novel networks of syntrophic metabolic interactions in different granules, perhaps caused by distinct thermodynamic conditions. Moreover, unseen methanogenic relationships (e.g. "Candidatus Aminicenantes" and Methanosaeta) are observed in UASB reactors. In total, we discover unexpected microbial interactions in granular micro-ecosystems supporting UASB ecology and treatment through a unique single-granule level approach.
Project description:We herein analyzed the diversity of microbes involved in anaerobic sulfur oxidation in an upflow anaerobic sludge blanket (UASB) reactor used for treating municipal sewage under low-temperature conditions. Anaerobic sulfur oxidation occurred in the absence of oxygen, with nitrite and nitrate as electron acceptors; however, reactor performance parameters demonstrated that anaerobic conditions were maintained. In order to gain insights into the underlying basis of anaerobic sulfur oxidation, the microbial diversity that exists in the UASB sludge was analyzed comprehensively to determine their identities and contribution to sulfur oxidation. Sludge samples were collected from the UASB reactor over a period of 2 years and used for bacterial 16S rRNA gene-based terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) and next-generation sequencing analyses. T-RFLP and sequencing results both showed that microbial community patterns changed markedly from day 537 onwards. Bacteria belonging to the genus Desulforhabdus within the phylum Proteobacteria and uncultured bacteria within the phylum Fusobacteria were the main groups observed during the period of anaerobic sulfur oxidation. Their abundance correlated with temperature, suggesting that these bacterial groups played roles in anaerobic sulfur oxidation in UASB reactors.
Project description:Eukaryotes are important components of ecosystems in wastewater treatment processes. However, little is known about eukaryotic community in anaerobic wastewater treatment systems. In this study, eukaryotic communities in an up flow anaerobic sludge blanket (UASB) reactor treating domestic sewage during two years of operation were investigated using V4 and V9 regions of 18S rRNA gene for amplicon sequencing. In addition, activated sludge and influent sewage samples were also analyzed and used as the references for aerobic eukaryotic community to characterize anaerobic eukaryotes. The amplicon sequence V4 and V9 libraries detected different taxonomic groups, especially from the UASB samples, suggesting that commonly used V4 and V9 primer pairs could produce a bias for eukaryotic communities analysis. Eukaryotic community structures in the UASB reactor were influenced by the immigration of eukaryotes via influent sewage but were clearly different from the influent sewage and activated sludge. Multivariate statistics indicated that protist genera Cyclidium, Platyophrya and Subulatomonas correlated with chemical oxygen demand and suspended solid concentration, and could be used as bioindicators of treatment performance. Uncultured eukaryotes groups were dominant in the UASB reactor, and their physiological roles need to be examined to understand their contributions to anaerobic processes in future studies.
Project description:Predation by protists is top-down pressure that regulates prokaryotic abundance, community function, structure, and diversity in natural and artificial ecosystems. Although the effects of predation by protists have been studied in aerobic ecosystems, they are poorly understood in anoxic environments. We herein studied the influence of predation by Metopus and Caenomorpha ciliates-ciliates frequently found in anoxic ecosystems-on prokaryotic community function, structure, and diversity. Metopus and Caenomorpha ciliates were cocultivated with prokaryotic assemblages (i.e., anaerobic granular sludge) in an up-flow anaerobic sludge blanket (UASB) reactor for 171 d. Predation by these ciliates increased the methanogenic activities of granular sludge, which constituted 155% of those found in a UASB reactor without the ciliates (i.e., control reactor). Sequencing of 16S rRNA gene amplicons using Illumina MiSeq revealed that the prokaryotic community in the UASB reactor with the ciliates was more diverse than that in the control reactor; 2,885-3,190 and 2,387-2,426 operational taxonomic units (>97% sequence similarities), respectively. The effects of predation by protists in anaerobic engineered systems have mostly been overlooked, and our results show that the influence of predation by protists needs to be examined and considered in the future for a better understanding of prokaryotic community structure and function.
Project description:Syngas generated by thermal gasification of biomass or coal can be steam reformed and purified into methane, which could be used locally for energy needs, or re-injected in the natural gas grid. As an alternative to chemical catalysis, the main components of the syngas (CO, CO2, and H2) can be used as substrates by a wide range of microorganisms, to be converted into gas biofuels, including methane. This study evaluates the carboxydotrophic (CO-consuming) methanogenic potential present in an anaerobic sludge from an upflow anaerobic sludge bed (UASB) reactor treating waste water, and elucidates the CO conversion routes to methane at 35 ± 3°C. Kinetic activity tests under CO at partial pressures (pCO) varying from 0.1 to 1.5 atm (0.09-1.31 mmol/L in the liquid phase) showed a significant carboxydotrophic activity potential for growing conditions on CO alone. A maximum methanogenic activity of 1 mmol CH4 per g of volatile suspended solid and per day was achieved at 0.2 atm of CO (0.17 mmol/L), and then the rate decreased with the amount of CO supplied. The intermediary metabolites such as acetate, H2, and propionate started to accumulate at higher CO concentrations. Inhibition experiments with 2-bromoethanesulfonic acid (BES), fluoroacetate, and vancomycin showed that in a mixed culture CO was converted mainly to acetate by acetogenic bacteria, which was further transformed to methane by acetoclastic methanogens, while direct methanogenic CO conversion was negligible. Methanogenesis was totally blocked at high pCO in the bottles (≥1 atm). However it was possible to achieve higher methanogenic potential under a 100% CO atmosphere after acclimation of the sludge to CO. This adaptation to high CO concentrations led to a shift in the archaeal population, then dominated by hydrogen-utilizing methanogens, which were able to take over acetoclastic methanogens, while syntrophic acetate oxidizing (SAO) bacteria oxidized acetate into CO2 and H2. The disaggregation of the granular sludge showed a negative impact on their methanogenic activity, confirming that the acetoclastic methanogens were the most sensitive to CO, and a contrario, the advantage of using granular sludge for further development toward large-scale methane production from CO-rich syngas.
Project description:Tetramethylammonium-degrading methanogenic consortia from a complete-mixing suspended sludge (CMSS) and an upflow anaerobic sludge blanket (UASB) reactors were studied using multiple PCR-based molecular techniques and shotgun proteomic approach. The prokaryotic 16S rRNA genes of the consortia were analyzed by quantitative PCR, high-throughput sequencing, and DGGE-cloning methods. The results showed that methanogenic archaea were highly predominant in both reactors but differed markedly according to community structure. Community and proteomic analysis revealed that Methanomethylovorans and Methanosarcina were the major players for the demethylation of methylated substrates and methane formation through the reduction pathway of methyl-S-CoM and possibly, acetyl-CoA synthase/decarbonylase-related pathways. Unlike high dominance of one Methanomethylovorans population in the CMSS reactor, diverse methylotrophic Methanosarcina species inhabited in syntrophy-like association with hydrogenotrophic Methanobacterium in the granular sludge of UASB reactor. The overall findings indicated the reactor-dependent community structures of quaternary amines degradation and provided microbial insight for the improved understanding of engineering application.
Project description:The effect of nickel deprivation from the influent of a mesophilic (30 degrees C) methanol fed upflow anaerobic sludge bed (UASB) reactor was investigated by coupling the reactor performance to the evolution of the Methanosarcina population of the bioreactor sludge. The reactor was operated at pH 7.0 and an organic loading rate (OLR) of 5-15 g COD l(-1) day(-1) for 191 days. A clear limitation of the specific methanogenic activity (SMA) on methanol due to the absence of nickel was observed after 129 days of bioreactor operation: the SMA of the sludge in medium with the complete trace metal solution except nickel amounted to 1.164 (+/-0.167) g CH(4)-COD g VSS(-1) day(-1) compared to 2.027 (+/-0.111) g CH(4)-COD g VSS(-1) day(-1) in a medium with the complete (including nickel) trace metal solution. The methanol removal efficiency during these 129 days was 99%, no volatile fatty acid (VFA) accumulation was observed and the size of the Methanosarcina population increased compared to the seed sludge. Continuation of the UASB reactor operation with the nickel limited sludge lead to incomplete methanol removal, and thus methanol accumulation in the reactor effluent from day 142 onwards. This methanol accumulation subsequently induced an increase of the acetogenic activity in the UASB reactor on day 160. On day 165, 77% of the methanol fed to the system was converted to acetate and the Methanosarcina population size had substantially decreased. Inclusion of 0.5 muM Ni (dosed as NiCl(2)) to the influent from day 165 onwards lead to the recovery of the methanol removal efficiency to 99% without VFA accumulation within 2 days of bioreactor operation.