Project description:A microbial community originating from brewery waste produced methane, acetate, and hydrogen when selected on a granular graphite cathode poised at -590 mV versus the standard hydrogen electrode (SHE) with CO(2) as the only carbon source. This is the first report on the simultaneous electrosynthesis of these commodity chemicals and the first description of electroacetogenesis by a microbial community. Deep sequencing of the active community 16S rRNA revealed a dynamic microbial community composed of an invariant Archaea population of Methanobacterium spp. and a shifting Bacteria population. Acetobacterium spp. were the most abundant Bacteria on the cathode when acetogenesis dominated. Methane was generally the dominant product with rates increasing from <1 to 7 mM day(-1) (per cathode liquid volume) and was concomitantly produced with acetate and hydrogen. Acetogenesis increased to >4 mM day(-1) (accumulated to 28.5 mM over 12 days), and methanogenesis ceased following the addition of 2-bromoethanesulfonic acid. Traces of hydrogen accumulated during initial selection and subsequently accelerated to >11 mM day(-1) (versus 0.045 mM day(-1) abiotic production). The hypothesis of electrosynthetic biocatalysis occurring at the microbe-electrode interface was supported by a catalytic wave (midpoint potential of -460 mV versus SHE) in cyclic voltammetry scans of the biocathode, the lack of redox active components in the medium, and the generation of comparatively high amounts of products (even after medium exchange). In addition, the volumetric production rates of these three commodity chemicals are marked improvements for electrosynthesis, advancing the process toward economic feasibility.
Project description:DNA-based techniques are widely used to study microbial populations; however, this approach is not specific to active microbes, because DNA may originate from inactive and/or dead cells. Using cDNA and DNA, respectively, we aimed to discriminate the active microbes from the total microbial community within the rumen of dairy cows fed diets with increasing proportions of corn silage (CS). Nine multiparous lactating Holstein cows fitted with ruminal cannulas were used in a replicated 3×3 Latin square (32-d period; 21-d adaptation) design to investigate diet-induced shifts in microbial populations by targeting the rDNA gene. Cows were fed a total mixed ration with the forage portion being either barley silage (0% CS), a 50?50 mixture of barley silage and corn silage (50% CS), or corn silage (100% CS). No differences were found for total microbes analyzed by quantitative PCR, but changes were observed within the active ones. Feeding more CS to dairy cows was accompanied by an increase in Prevotella rRNA transcripts (P?=?0.10) and a decrease in the protozoal rRNA transcripts (P<0.05). Although they were distributed differently among diets, 78% of the amplicons detected in DNA- and cDNA-based fingerprints were common to total and active bacterial communities. These may represent a bacterial core of abundant and active cells that drive the fermentation processes. In contrast, 10% of amplicons were specific to total bacteria and may represent inactive or dead cells, whereas 12% were only found within the active bacterial community and may constitute slow-growing bacteria with high metabolic activity. It appears that cDNA-based analysis is more discriminative to identify diet-induced shifts within the microbial community. This approach allows the detection of diet-induced changes in the microbial populations as well as particular bacterial amplicons that remained undetected using DNA-based methods.
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:<h4>Background</h4>Microbial electrolysis is a promising technology for converting aqueous wastes into hydrogen. However, substrate adaptability is an important feature, seldom documented in microbial electrolysis cells (MECs). In addition, the correlation between substrate composition and community structure has not been well established. This study used an MEC capable of producing over 10 L/L-day of hydrogen from a switchgrass-derived bio-oil aqueous phase and investigated four additional substrates, tested in sequence on a mature biofilm. The additional substrates included a red oak-derived bio-oil aqueous phase, a corn stover fermentation product, a mixture of phenol and acetate, and acetate alone.<h4>Results</h4>The MECs fed with the corn stover fermentation product resulted in the highest performance among the complex feedstocks, producing an average current density of 7.3?±?0.51 A/m<sup>2</sup>, although the acetate fed MECs outperformed complex substrates, producing 12.3?±?0.01 A/m<sup>2</sup>. 16S rRNA gene sequencing showed that community structure and community diversity were not predictive of performance, and replicate community structures diverged despite identical inoculum and enrichment procedure. The trends in each replicate, however, were indicative of the influence of the substrates. <i>Geobacter</i> was the most dominant genus across most of the samples tested, but its abundance did not correlate strongly to current density. High-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) showed that acetic acid accumulated during open circuit conditions when MECs were fed with complex feedstocks and was quickly degraded once closed circuit conditions were applied. The largest net acetic acid removal rate occurred when MECs were fed with red oak bio-oil aqueous phase, consuming 2.93?±?0.00 g/L-day. Principal component analysis found that MEC performance metrics such as current density, hydrogen productivity, and chemical oxygen demand removal were closely correlated. Net acetic acid removal was also found to correlate with performance. However, no bacterial genus appeared to correlated to these performance metrics strongly, and the analysis suggested that less than 70% of the variance was accounted for by the two components.<h4>Conclusions</h4>This study demonstrates the robustness of microbial communities to adapt to a range of feedstocks and conditions without relying on specific species, delivering high hydrogen productivities despite differences in community structure. The results indicate that functional adaptation may play a larger role in performance than community composition. Further investigation of the roles each microbe plays in these communities will help MECs to become integral in the 21st-century bioeconomy to produce zero-emission fuels.
Project description:Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) form a highly promising class of bioplastics for the transition from fossil fuel-based plastics to bio-renewable and biodegradable plastics. Mixed microbial consortia (MMC) are known to be able to produce PHAs from organic waste streams. Knowledge of key-microbes and their characteristics in PHA-producing consortia is necessary for further process optimization and direction towards synthesis of specific types of PHAs. In this study, a PHA-producing mixed microbial consortium (MMC) from an industrial pilot plant was characterized and further enriched on acetate in a laboratory-scale selector with a working volume of 5 L, and 16S-rDNA microbiological population analysis of both the industrial pilot plant and the 5 L selector revealed that the most dominant species within the population is Thauera aminoaromatica MZ1T, a Gram-negative beta-proteobacterium belonging to the order of the Rhodocyclales. The relative abundance of this Thauera species increased from 24 to 40% after two months of enrichment in the selector-system, indicating a competitive advantage, possibly due to the storage of a reserve material such as PHA. First experiments with T. aminoaromatica MZ1T showed multiple intracellular granules when grown in pure culture on a growth medium with a C:N ratio of 10:1 and acetate as a carbon source. Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) analyses upon extraction of PHA from the pure culture confirmed polyhydroxybutyrate production by T. aminoaromatica MZ1T.
Project description:A total of 46 brewery and 15 ATCC Pediococcus isolates were ribotyped using a Qualicon RiboPrinter. Of these, 41 isolates were identified as Pediococcus damnosus using EcoRI digestion. Three ATCC reference strains had patterns similar to each other and matched 17 of the brewery isolates. Six other brewing isolates were similar to ATCC 25249. The other 18 P. damnosus brewery isolates had unique patterns. Of the remaining brewing isolates, one was identified as P. parvulus, two were identified as P. acidilactici, and two were identified as unique Pediococcus species. The use of alternate restriction endonucleases indicated that PstI and PvuII could further differentiate some strains having identical EcoRI profiles. An acid-resistant P. damnosus isolate could be distinguished from non-acid-resistant varieties of the same species using PstI instead of EcoRI. 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis was compared to riboprinting for identifying pediococci. The complete 16S rRNA gene was PCR amplified and sequenced from seven brewery isolates and three ATCC references with distinctive riboprint patterns. The 16S rRNA gene sequences from six different brewery P. damnosus isolates were homologous with a high degree of similarity to the GenBank reference strain but were identical to each other and one ATCC strain with the exception of 1 bp in one strain. A slime-producing, beer spoilage isolate had 16S rRNA gene sequence homology to the P. acidilactici reference strain, in agreement with the riboprint data. Although 16S rRNA gene sequencing correctly identified the genus and species of the test Pediococcus isolates, riboprinting proved to be a better method for subspecies differentiation.
Project description:Microarrays have become established tools for describing microbial systems, however the assessment of expression profiles for environmental microbial communities still presents unique challenges. Notably, the concentration of particular transcripts are likely very dilute relative to the pool of total RNA, and PCR-based amplification strategies are vulnerable to amplification biases and the appropriate primer selection. Thus, we apply a signal amplification approach, rather than template amplification, to analyze the expression of selected lignin-degrading enzymes in soil. Controls in the form of known amplicons and cDNA from Phanerochaete chrysosporium were included and mixed with the soil cDNA both before and after the signal amplification in order to assess the dynamic range of the microarray. We demonstrate that restored prairie soil expresses a diverse range of lignin-degrading enzymes following incubation with lignin substrate, while farmed agricultural soil does not. The mixed additions of control cDNA with soil cDNA indicate that the mixed biomass in the soil does interfere with low abundance transcript changes, nevertheless our microarray approach consistently reports the most robust signals. Keywords: comparative analysis, microbial ecology, soil microbial communities We used lignin degradation as a model process to demonstrate the use of an oligonucleotide microarray for directly detecting gene expression in soil communities using signal amplification instead of template amplification to avoid the introduction of PCR bias. In the current study, we analyzed mRNA isolated from two distinct soil microbial communities and demonstrate our ability to detect the expression of a small subset of lignin degrading genes following exposure to a lignitic substrate. We also included purified control amplicons and mixed target experiments with pure P. chrysosporium genomic cDNA to determine the level of interference from soil biomass on target hybridization.
Project description:Acetate production from food waste or sewage sludge was evaluated in four semi-continuous anaerobic digestion processes. To examine the importance of inoculum and substrate for acid production, two different inoculum sources (a wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) and a co-digestion plant treating food and industry waste) and two common substrates (sewage sludge and food waste) were used in process operations. The processes were evaluated with regard to the efficiency of hydrolysis, acidogenesis, acetogenesis, and methanogenesis and the microbial community structure was determined. Feeding sewage sludge led to mixed acid fermentation and low total acid yield, whereas feeding food waste resulted in the production of high acetate and lactate yields. Inoculum from WWTP with sewage sludge substrate resulted in maintained methane production, despite a low hydraulic retention time. For food waste, the process using inoculum from WWTP produced high levels of lactate (30 g/L) and acetate (10 g/L), while the process initiated with inoculum from the co-digestion plant had higher acetate (25 g/L) and lower lactate (15 g/L) levels. The microbial communities developed during acid production consisted of the major genera Lactobacillus (92-100%) with food waste substrate, and Roseburia (44-45%) and Fastidiosipila (16-36%) with sewage sludge substrate. Use of the outgoing material (hydrolysates) in a biogas production system resulted in a non-significant increase in bio-methane production (+5-20%) compared with direct biogas production from food waste and sewage sludge.
Project description:In microbial ecology, a fundamental question relates to how community diversity and composition change in response to perturbation. Most studies have had limited ability to deeply sample community structure (e.g. Sanger-sequenced 16S rRNA libraries), or have had limited taxonomic resolution (e.g. studies based on 16S rRNA hypervariable region sequencing). Here, we combine the higher taxonomic resolution of near-full-length 16S rRNA gene amplicons with the economics and sensitivity of short-read sequencing to assay the abundance and identity of organisms that represent as little as 0.01% of sediment bacterial communities. We used a new version of EMIRGE optimized for large data size to reconstruct near-full-length 16S rRNA genes from amplicons sheared and sequenced with Illumina technology. The approach allowed us to differentiate the community composition among samples acquired before perturbation, after acetate amendment shifted the predominant metabolism to iron reduction, and once sulfate reduction began. Results were highly reproducible across technical replicates, and identified specific taxa that responded to the perturbation. All samples contain very high alpha diversity and abundant organisms from phyla without cultivated representatives. Surprisingly, at the time points measured, there was no strong loss of evenness, despite the selective pressure of acetate amendment and change in the terminal electron accepting process. However, community membership was altered significantly. The method allows for sensitive, accurate profiling of the "long tail" of low abundance organisms that exist in many microbial communities, and can resolve population dynamics in response to environmental change.
Project description:The methanogenic community in hydrothermally active sediments of Guaymas Basin (Gulf of California, Mexico) was analyzed by PCR amplification, cloning, and sequencing of methyl coenzyme M reductase (mcrA) and 16S rRNA genes. Members of the Methanomicrobiales and Methanosarcinales dominated the mcrA and 16S rRNA clone libraries from the upper 15 cm of the sediments. Within the H2/CO2- and formate-utilizing family Methanomicrobiales, two mcrA and 16S rRNA lineages were closely affiliated with cultured species of the genera Methanoculleus and Methanocorpusculum. The most frequently recovered mcrA PCR amplicons within the Methanomicrobiales did not branch with any cultured genera. Within the nutritionally versatile family Methanosarcinales, one 16S rRNA amplicon and most of the mcrA PCR amplicons were affiliated with the obligately acetate utilizing species Methanosaeta concilii. The mcrA clone libraries also included phylotypes related to the methyl-disproportionating genus Methanococcoides. However, two mcrA and two 16S rRNA lineages within the Methanosarcinales were unrelated to any cultured genus. Overall, the clone libraries indicate a diversified methanogen community that uses H2/CO2, formate, acetate, and methylated substrates. Phylogenetic affiliations of mcrA and 16S rRNA clones with thermophilic and nonthermophilic cultured isolates indicate a mixed mesophilic and thermophilic methanogen community in the surficial Guaymas sediments.