Mapping anaerobic sludge bed community adaptations to manure supernatant in biogas reactors.
ABSTRACT: In upflow anaerobic sludge bed (UASB) reactors, biomass present as granules allows for long solids retention time. Here, granules from a process treating pulp and paper industrial wastewater were successfully applied as inoculum in UASB reactors treating pig manure supernatant, despite high particle content and high ammonium concentrations in the influent. We did a detailed characterization of archaeal and bacterial communities associated with the inoculum and with the aggregated and dispersed fractions of the influent and the reactors after one year of operation. The granular communities underwent major changes and adapted to the highly distinct conditions without disintegration of the granules. Although the granules persisted in the reactors, non-granular aggregates accumulated, and partly replaced the granules. Particles introduced to the reactors by the pig manure influent apparently contributed both as food and biofilm growth support. Archaeal communities in the dispersed reactor phase were similar to those dispersed in the influents, implying successful retention and little loss of archaeal biomass due to detachment or disintegration of granules and other aggregates. Unique bacterial communities developed in the dispersed fraction of the reactors despite of low hydraulic retention times. They probably consisted of fast growing organisms consuming readily degradable organic matter.
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:The effect of omitting zinc from the influent of mesophilic (30 degrees C) methanol fed upflow anaerobic sludge bed (UASB) reactors, and latter zinc supplementation to the influent to counteract the deprivation, was investigated by coupling the UASB reactor performance to the microbial ecology of the bioreactor sludge. Limitation of the specific methanogenic activity (SMA) on methanol due to the absence of zinc from the influent developed after 137 days of operation. At that day, the SMA in medium with a complete trace metal solution except Zn was 3.4 g CH4-COD g VSS(-1) day(-1), compared to 4.2 g CH4-COD g VSS(-1) day(-1) in a medium with a complete (including zinc) trace metal solution. The methanol removal capacity during these 137 days was 99% and no volatile fatty acids accumulated. Two UASB reactors, inoculated with the zinc-deprived sludge, were operated to study restoration of the zinc limitation by zinc supplementation to the bioreactor influent. In a first reactor, no changes to the operational conditions were made. This resulted in methanol accumulation in the reactor effluent after 12 days of operation, which subsequently induced acetogenic activity 5 days after the methanol accumulation started. Methanogenesis could not be recovered by the continuous addition of 0.5 microM ZnCl2 to the reactor for 13 days. In the second reactor, 0.5 microM ZnCl2 was added from its start-up. Although the reactor stayed 10 days longer methanogenically than the reactor operated without zinc, methanol accumulation was observed in this reactor (up to 1.1 g COD-MeOH L(-1)) as well. This study shows that zinc limitation can induce failure of methanol fed UASB reactors due to acidification, which cannot be restored by resuming the continuous supply of the deprived metal.
Project description:BACKGROUND:During strategic planning of a biogas plant, the local availability of resources for start-up and operation should be taken into consideration for a cost-efficient process. Because most bioethanol/sugar industries in Brazil are located in remote areas, the use of fresh cattle manure from local farms could be a solution for the inoculation of the biogas process. This study investigated the diversity and dynamics of bacterial and archaeal communities and the performance of biogas reactors inoculated with manure and a mixed inoculum from different biogas reactors as for a controlled start-up until steady state. RESULTS:Laboratory-scale biogas reactors were fed semi-continuously with sugarcane filter cake alone (mono-digestion) or together with bagasse (co-digestion). At the initial start-up, the reactors inoculated with the mixed inoculum displayed a less diverse taxonomic composition, but with higher presence of significant abundances compared to reactors inoculated with manure. However, in the final steady state, the communities of the differently inoculated reactors were very similarly characterized by predominance of the methanogenic genera Methanosarcina and Methanobacterium, the bacterial families Bacteroidaceae, Prevotellaceae and Porphyromonadaceae (phylum Bacteroidetes) and Synergistaceae (phylum Synergistetes). In the mono-digestion reactors, the methanogenic communities varied greater than in the co-digestion reactors independently of the inoculation strategy. CONCLUSION:The microbial communities involved in the biogas production from waste products of the Brazilian bioethanol/sugar industry were relatively similar and stable at the reactor's steady phase independently of the inoculum source (manure or mixed inoculum). Therefore, the locally available manure can be used as inoculum for start-up of the biogas process, since it also contains the microbial resources needed. The strong fluctuation of methanogenic communities in mono-digestion reactors indicates higher risk of process instability than in co-digestion reactors.
Project description:In the recent years anaerobic sludge granulation at elevated salinities in upflow anaerobic sludge blanket (UASB) reactors has been investigated in few engineering based studies, never addressing the microbial community structural role in driving aggregation and keeping granules stability. In this study, the combination of different techniques was applied in order to follow the microbial community members and their structural dynamics in granules formed at low (5 g/L Na+) and high (20 g/L Na+) salinity conditions. Experiments were carried out in four UASB reactors fed with synthetic wastewater, using two experimental set-ups. By applying 16S rRNA gene analysis, the comparison of granules grown at low and high salinity showed that acetotrophic Methanosaeta harundinacea was the dominant methanogen at both salinities, while the dominant bacteria changed. At 5 g/L Na+, cocci chains of Streptoccoccus were developing, while at 20 g/L Na+ members of the family Defluviitaleaceae formed long filaments. By means of Fluorescence in Situ Hybridization (FISH) and Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), it was shown that aggregation of Methanosaeta in compact clusters and the formation of filaments of Streptoccoccus and Defluviitaleaceae during the digestion time were the main drivers for the granulation at low and high salinity. Interestingly, when the complex protein substrate (tryptone) in the synthetic wastewater was substituted with single amino acids (proline, leucine and glutamic acid), granules at high salinity (20 g/L Na+) were not formed. This corresponded to a decrease of Methanosaeta relative abundance and a lack of compact clustering, together with disappearance of Defluviitaleaceae and consequent absence of bacterial filaments within the dispersed biomass. In these conditions, a biofilm was growing on the glass wall of the reactor instead, highlighting that a complex protein substrate such as tryptone can contribute to granules formation at elevated salinity.
Project description:Recovery of calcium phosphate granules (CaP granules) from high-strength wastewater is an opportunity to reduce the natural phosphorus (P) scarcity, geographic imbalances of P reserves, and eutrophication. Formation of CaP granules was previously observed in an upflow anaerobic sludge bed (UASB) reactor treating source separated black water and is enhanced by Ca2+ addition. However, the required operating conditions and influent composition for CaP granulation are still unknown. In this study, we have experimentally demonstrated that the carbon source and bulk pH are crucial parameters for the formation and growth of CaP granules in a UASB reactor, operating at relatively low upflow velocity (<1 cm h-1). Degradation of glucose yielded sufficient biomass (microbial cells and extracellular biopolymers) to cover crystal and amorphous calcium phosphate [Ca x(PO4) y], forming CaP granules. Influent only containing volatile fatty acids as the carbon source did not generate CaP granules. Moreover, bulk pH between 7.0 and 7.5 was crucial for the enrichment of Ca x(PO4) y in the granules over bulk precipitation. Bulk pH 8 reduced the Ca x(PO4) y enrichment in granules of >1.4 mm diameter from 9 to 5 wt % P. Moreover, for bulk pH 7.5, co-precipitation of CaCO3 with Ca x(PO4) y was reduced.
Project description:We examined the effect of ammonium and temperature on methane production in high rate upflow anaerobic sludge bed reactors treating pig manure supernatant. We operated four reactors at two ammonium concentrations ('low' at 1.9, 'high' at 3.7?g?L-1, termed LA and HA reactors, respectively) and at variable temperatures over 358 days. Archaeal and bacterial communities were characterized by Illumina sequencing of 16S rRNA amplicons. Ammonium was a major selective factor for bacterial and archaeal community structure. After ~200 days of adaptation to high ammonium levels, acetate and propionate removal and methane production improved substantially in HA reactors. Aceticlastic Methanosaeta was abundant and positively correlated to methane yield in the HA reactors, whereas Methanosarcina was more abundant in LA reactors. Furthermore, a group of monophyletic OTUs that was related to Thaumarchaeota in phylogenetic analysis was highly abundant in the archaeal communities, particularly in the HA reactors. The most abundant bacterial OTU in LA reactors, representing Syntrophomonadaceae, was also positively correlated to methane yield in the HA reactors, indicating its importance in methane production under ammonia stress. In conclusion, efficient methane production, involving aceticlastic methanogenesis by Methanosaeta took place in the reactors at free ammonia concentrations as high as 1?g?L-1.
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:Responses of bacterial and archaeal communities to the addition of straw during anaerobic digestion of manure at different temperatures (37°C, 44°C and 52°C) were investigated using five laboratory-scale semi-continuous stirred tank reactors. The results revealed that including straw as co-substrate decreased the species richness for bacteria, whereas increasing the operating temperature decreased the species richness for both archaea and bacteria, and also the evenness of the bacteria. Taxonomic classifications of the archaeal community showed that Methanobrevibacter dominated in the manure samples, while Methanosarcina dominated in all digesters regardless of substrate. Increase of the operating temperature to 52°C led to increased relative abundance of Methanoculleus and Methanobacterium. Among the bacteria, the phyla Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes dominated within all samples. Compared with manure itself, digestion of manure resulted in a higher abundance of an uncultured class WWE1 and lower abundance of Bacilli. Adding straw to the digesters increased the level of Bacteroidia, while increasing the operating temperature decreased the level of this class and instead increased the relative abundance of an uncultured genus affiliated to order MBA08 (Clostridia). A considerable fraction of bacterial sequences could not be allocated to genus level, indicating that novel phylotypes are resident in these communities.
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:Basic understanding of formation of aerobic granular sludge (AGS) has mainly been derived from lab-scale systems with simple influents containing only highly diffusible volatile fatty acids (VFA) as organic substrate. This study compares start-up of AGS systems fed by different synthetic and municipal wastewaters (WW), characterised by increasing complexity in terms of non-diffusible organic substrate. Four AGS reactors were started with the same inoculum activated sludge and operated for one year. The development of AGS, settling characteristics, nutrient and substrate removal performance as well as microbial community composition were monitored. Our results indicate that the higher the content of diffusible organic substrate in the WW, the faster the formation of AGS. The presence of non-diffusible organic substrate in the influent WW led to the formation of small granules and to the presence of 20-40% (% of total suspended solids) of flocs in the AGS. When AGS was fed with complex influent WW, the classical phosphorus and glycogen accumulating organisms (PAO, GAO) were outcompeted by their fermentative equivalents. Substrate and nutrient removal was observed in all reactors, despite the difference in physical and settling properties of the AGS, but the levels of P and N removal depended on the influent carbon composition. Mechanistically, our results indicate that increased levels of non-diffusible organic substrate in the influent lower the potential for microbial growth deep inside the granules. Additionally, non-diffusible organic substrates give a competitive advantage to the main opponents of AGS formation - ordinary heterotrophic organisms (OHO). Both of these mechanisms are suspected to limit AGS formation. The presented study has relevant implications for both practice and research. Start-up duration of AGS systems treating high complexity WW were one order of magnitude higher than a typical lab-scale system treating VFA-rich synthetic WW, and biomass as flocs persisted as a significant fraction. Finally, the complex synthetic influent WW - composed of VFA, soluble fermentable and particulate substrate - tested here seems to be a more adequate surrogate of real municipal WW for laboratory studies than 100%-VFA WW.