Project description:Anaerobic digestion is a popular and effective microbial process for waste treatment. The performance of anaerobic digestion processes is contingent on the balance of the microbial food web in utilizing various substrates. Recently, co-digestion, i.e., supplementing the primary substrate with an organic-rich co-substrate has been exploited to improve waste treatment efficiency. Yet the potential effects of elevated organic loading on microbial functional gene community remains elusive. In this study, functional gene array (GeoChip 5.0) was used to assess the response of microbial community to the addition of poultry waste in anaerobic digesters treating dairy manure. Consistent with 16S rRNA gene sequences data, GeoChip data showed that microbial community compositions were significantly shifted in favor of copiotrophic populations by co-digestion, as taxa with higher rRNA gene copy number such as Bacilli were enriched. The acetoclastic methanogen Methanosarcina was also enriched, while Methanosaeta was unaltered but more abundant than Methanosarcina throughout the study period. The microbial functional diversity involved in anaerobic digestion were also increased under co-digestion. Overall design: There were two sets of anaerobic digesters. Three control digesters were fed with dairy manure and the organic loading rate kept constant. The three treatment digesters were fed with poultry waste in addition to dairy manure, resulting in step-wise increase in the organic loading rate. Sludge samples were taken at different time points from the six digesters.