Diverse Microbial Community Profiles of Propionate-Degrading Cultures Derived from Different Sludge Sources of Anaerobic Wastewater Treatment Plants.
ABSTRACT: Anaerobic digestion (AD) has been used for wastewater treatment and production of renewable energy or biogas. Propionate accumulation is one of the important problems leading to an unstable system and low methane production. Revealing propionate-degrading microbiome is necessary to gain a better knowledge for alleviation of the problem. Herein, we systematically investigated the propionate-degrading cultures enriched from various anaerobic sludge sources of agro-industrial wastewater treatment plants using 16S rRNA gene sequencing. Different microbial profiles were shown even though the methanogenic activities of all cultures were similar. Interestingly, non-classical propionate-degrading key players Smithella, Syntrophomonas, and Methanosaeta were observed as common prevalent taxa in our enriched cultures. Moreover, different hydrogenotrophic methanogens were found specifically to the different sludge sources. The enriched culture of high salinity sludge showed a distinct microbial profile compared to the others, containing mainly Thermovirga, Anaerolinaceae, Methanosaeta, Syntrophobactor, and Methanospirillum. Our microbiome analysis revealed different propionate-degrading community profiles via mainly the Smithella pathway and offers inside information for microbiome manipulation in AD systems to increase biogas production corresponding to their specific microbial communities.
Project description:Background:Waste lipids are attractive substrates for co-digestion with primary and activated sewage sludge (PASS) to improve biogas production at wastewater treatment plants. However, slow conversion rates of long-chain fatty acids (LCFA), produced during anaerobic digestion (AD), limit the applicability of waste lipids as co-substrates for PASS. Previous observations indicate that the sulfide level in PASS digesters affects the capacity of microbial communities to convert LCFA to biogas. This study assessed the microbial community response to LCFA loads in relation to sulfide level during AD of PASS by investigating process performance and microbial community dynamics upon addition of oleate (C18:1) and stearate (C18:0) to PASS digesters at ambient and elevated sulfide levels. Results:Conversion of LCFA to biogas was limited (30% of theoretical biogas potential) during continuous co-digestion with PASS, which resulted in further LCFA accumulation. However, the accumulated LCFA were converted to biogas (up to 66% of theoretical biogas potential) during subsequent batch-mode digestion, performed without additional substrate load. Elevated sulfide level stimulated oleate (but not stearate) conversion to acetate, but oleate and sulfide imposed a synergistic limiting effect on acetoclastic methanogenesis and biogas formation. Next-generation sequencing of 16S rRNA gene amplicons of bacteria and archaea showed that differences in sulfide level and LCFA type resulted in microbial community alterations with distinctly different patterns. Taxonomic profiling of the sequencing data revealed that the phylum Cloacimonetes is likely a key group during LCFA degradation in PASS digesters, where different members take part in degradation of saturated and unsaturated LCFA; genus W5 (family Cloacimonadaceae) and family W27 (order Cloacimonadales), respectively. In addition, LCFA-degrading Syntrophomonas, which is commonly present in lipid-fed digesters, increased in relative abundance after addition of oleate at elevated sulfide level, but not without sulfide or after stearate addition. Stearate conversion to biogas was instead associated with increasing abundance of hydrogen-producing Smithella and hydrogenotrophic Methanobacterium. Conclusions:Long-chain fatty acid chain saturation and sulfide level are selective drivers for establishment of LCFA-degrading microbial communities in municipal sludge digesters.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Understanding the effects of pretreatment on anaerobic digestion of sludge waste from wastewater treatment plants is becoming increasingly important, as impetus moves towards the utilization of sludge for renewable energy production. Although the field of sludge pretreatment has progressed significantly over the past decade, critical questions concerning the underlying microbial interactions remain unanswered. In this study, a metagenomic approach was adopted to investigate the microbial composition and gene content contributing to enhanced biogas production from sludge subjected to a novel pretreatment method (maintaining pH at 10 for 8 days) compared to other documented methods (ultrasonic, thermal and thermal-alkaline). RESULTS:Our results showed that pretreated sludge attained a maximum methane yield approximately 4-fold higher than that of the blank un-pretreated sludge set-up at day 17. Both the microbial and metabolic consortium shifted extensively towards enhanced biodegradation subsequent to pretreatment, providing insight for the enhanced methane yield. The prevalence of Methanosaeta thermophila and Methanothermobacter thermautotrophicus, together with the functional affiliation of enzymes-encoding genes suggested an acetoclastic and hydrogenotrophic methanogenesis pathway. Additionally, an alternative enzymology in Methanosaeta was observed. CONCLUSIONS:This study is the first to provide a microbiological understanding of improved biogas production subsequent to a novel waste sludge pretreatment method. The knowledge garnered will assist the design of more efficient pretreatment methods for biogas production in the future.
Project description:In order to investigate the propionate-degrading community of agricultural biogas plants, four propionate-degrading consortia (Ap1a, N12, G12, and Wp2a) were established from different biogas plants which were fed with renewable resources. The consortia were cultivated in a batch for a period of 2-4 years and then analyzed in an 8-week batch experiment for microbial succession during propionate degradation. Community shifts showed considerable propagation of Syntrophobacter sulfatireducens, Cryptanaerobacter sp./Pelotomaculum sp., and "Candidatus Cloacamonas sp." in the course of decreasing propionate concentration. Methanogenic species belonged mainly to the genera Methanosarcina, Methanosaeta, and Methanoculleus. Due to the prevalent presence of the syntrophic acetate-oxidizing species Tepidanaerobacter acetatoxydans and potentially autotrophic homoacetogenic bacteria (Moorella sp., Thermacetogenium sp.), a theoretical involvement of syntrophic acetate oxidation and autotrophic homoacetogenesis in stable and efficient propionate degradation was indicated. Considering theoretical Gibbs free energy values at different hydrogen partial pressures, it is noticeable that syntrophic acetate oxidation and autotrophic homoacetogenesis have the potential to counterbalance adverse hydrogen partial pressure fluctuations, stabilizing most probably continuous and stable propionate degradation.
Project description:Various anaerobic starter seeds from different sources were investigated for their efficacies in treatment of different types of wastewater. Six combinations of starter seeds and wastewaters were selected out of 25 combination batch experiments and operated in semicontinuous reactors. It was noticed that the efficacies of various anaerobic starter seeds for biogas production from different types of wastewater in terms of reactor performance and stability were depended on wastewater characteristics and F/M ratio affecting microbial community and their microbial activities. However, exogenous starter seed can be used across different types of wastewater with or without acclimatization. Four reactors reached the targeted OLR of 2?kg COD/m3·d with high performance and stability except for concentrated rubber wastewater (RBw), even using high active starter seeds of cassava starch (CSs) and palm oil (POs). The toxic compounds in RBw such as ammonia and sulfate might also adversely affect methanogenic activity in CSsRBw and POsRBw reactors. DGGE analysis showed that propionate utilizers, Smithella propionica strain LYP and Syntrophus sp., were detected in all samples. For Archaea domain, methylotrophic, hydrogenotrophic, and acetoclastic methanogens were also detected. Syntrophic relationships were assumed between propionate utilizers and methanogens as acetate/H2 producers and utilizers, respectively.
Project description:Constructed wetlands (CWs) are complicated ecosystems that include vegetation, sediments, and the associated microbiome mediating numerous processes in wastewater treatment. CWs have various functional zones where contrasting biochemical processes occur. Since these zones are characterized by different particle-size composition, physicochemical conditions, and vegetation, one can expect the presence of distinct microbiomes across different CW zones. Here, we investigated spatial changes in microbiomes along different functional zones of a free-water surface wetland located in Moscow, Russia. The microbiome structure was analyzed using Illumina MiSeq amplicon sequencing. We also determined particle diameter and surface area of sediments, as well as chemical composition of organic pollutants in different CW zones. Specific organic particle aggregates similar to activated sludge flocs were identified in the sediments. The highest accumulation of hydrocarbons was found in the zones with predominant sedimentation of fine fractions. Phytofilters had the highest rate of organic pollutants decomposition and predominance of Smithella, Ignavibacterium, and Methanothrix. The sedimentation tank had lower microbial diversity, and higher relative abundances of Parcubacteria, Proteiniclasticum, and Macellibacteroides, as well as higher predicted abundances of genes related to methanogenesis and methanotrophy. Thus, spatial changes in microbiomes of constructed wetlands can be associated with different types of wastewater treatment processes.
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:1-Hexadecene-contaminated wastewater is produced in oil refineries and can be treated in methanogenic bioreactors, although generally at low conversion rates. In this study, a microbial culture able to degrade 1-hexadecene was enriched, and different stimulation strategies were tested for enhancing 1-hexadecene conversion to methane. Seven and three times faster methane production was obtained in cultures stimulated with yeast extract or lactate, respectively, while cultures amended with crotonate lost the ability to degrade 1-hexadecene. Methane production from 1-hexadecene was not enhanced by the addition of extra hydrogenotrophic methanogens. Bacteria closely related to Syntrophus and Smithella were detected in 1-hexadecene-degrading cultures, but not in the ones amended with crotonate, which suggests the involvement of these bacteria in 1-hexadecene degradation. Genes coding for alkylsuccinate synthase alpha-subunit were detected in cultures degrading 1-hexadecene, indicating that hydrocarbon activation may occur by fumarate addition. These findings are novel and show that methane production from 1-hexadecene is improved by the addition of yeast extract or lactate. These extra electron donors may be considered as a potential bioremediation strategy of oil-contaminated sites with bioenergy generation through methane production.
Project description:BACKGROUND:It is known that a part of natural gas is produced by biogenic degradation of organic matter, but the microbial pathways resulting in the formation of pressurized gas fields remain unknown. Autogeneration of biogas pressure of up to 20 bar has been shown to improve the quality of biogas to the level of biogenic natural gas as the fraction of CO2 decreased. Still, the pCO2 is higher compared to atmospheric digestion and this may affect the process in several ways. In this work, we investigated the effect of elevated pCO2 of up to 0.5 MPa on Gibbs free energy, microbial community composition and substrate utilization kinetics in autogenerative high-pressure digestion. RESULTS:In this study, biogas pressure (up to 2.0 MPa) was batch-wise autogenerated for 268 days at 303 K in an 8-L bioreactor, resulting in a population dominated by archaeal Methanosaeta concilii, Methanobacterium formicicum and Mtb. beijingense and bacterial Kosmotoga-like (31% of total bacterial species), Propioniferax-like (25%) and Treponema-like (12%) species. Related microorganisms have also been detected in gas, oil and abandoned coal-bed reservoirs, where elevated pressure prevails. After 107 days autogeneration of biogas pressure up to 0.50 MPa of pCO2, propionate accumulated whilst CH4 formation declined. Alongside the Propioniferax-like organism, a putative propionate producer, increased in relative abundance in the period of propionate accumulation. Complementary experiments showed that specific propionate conversion rates decreased linearly from 30.3 mg g-1 VSadded day-1 by more than 90% to 2.2 mg g-1 VSadded day-1 after elevating pCO2 from 0.10 to 0.50 MPa. Neither thermodynamic limitations, especially due to elevated pH2, nor pH inhibition could sufficiently explain this phenomenon. The reduced propionate conversion could therefore be attributed to reversible CO2-toxicity. CONCLUSIONS:The results of this study suggest a generic role of the detected bacterial and archaeal species in biogenic methane formation at elevated pressure. The propionate conversion rate and subsequent methane production rate were inhibited by up to 90% by the accumulating pCO2 up to 0.5 MPa in the pressure reactor, which opens opportunities for steering carboxylate production using reversible CO2-toxicity in mixed-culture microbial electrosynthesis and fermentation.Graphical abstractThe role of pCO2 in steering product formation in autogenerative high pressure digestion.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The activated sludge process is one of the most widely used methods for treatment of wastewater and the microbial community composition in the sludge is important for the process operation. While the bacterial communities have been characterized in various activated sludge systems little is known about archaeal communities in activated sludge. The diversity and dynamics of the Archaea community in a full-scale activated sludge wastewater treatment plant were investigated by fluorescence in situ hybridization, terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis and cloning and sequencing of 16S rRNA genes. RESULTS: The Archaea community was dominated by Methanosaeta-like species. During a 15?month period major changes in the community composition were only observed twice despite seasonal variations in environmental and operating conditions. Water temperature appeared to be the process parameter that affected the community composition the most. Several terminal restriction fragments also showed strong correlations with sludge properties and effluent water properties. The Archaea were estimated to make up 1.6% of total cell numbers in the activated sludge and were present both as single cells and colonies of varying sizes. CONCLUSIONS: The results presented here show that Archaea can constitute a constant and integral part of the activated sludge and that it can therefore be useful to include Archaea in future studies of microbial communities in activated sludge.
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.