Focused-Pulsed sludge pre-treatment increases the bacterial diversity and relative abundance of acetoclastic methanogens in a full-scale anaerobic digester

Husen Zhang, James E. Banaszak, Prathap Parameswaran, Jared Alder, Rosa Krajmalnik-Brown, Bruce Rittmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

83 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The low yield of methane in anaerobic digestion systems represents a loss of energy that can be captured as renewable energy when the input sludge is pre-treated to make it more bioavailable. We investigated Focused-Pulsed (FP) pre-treatment, which make complex biological solids more bioavailable by exposing them to rapid pulses of a very strong electric field. We investigated how the microbial ecology in full-scale anaerobic digesters was altered when the digesters' methane production rate was significantly increased by FP pre-treatment. Using clone libraries and quantitative PCR, we demonstrated a shift in methanogenic genera to the acetate-cleaving Methanosaeta and away from the H2-oxidizing Methanoculleus. In addition, the acetate concentration in the effluent was very low, probably due to the dominance of Methanosaeta, which are capable of scavenging low acetate concentrations. By analyzing 36,797 pyrosequencing tags from the V6 region of the bacterial 16S rRNA gene, along with archaeal and bacterial clone libraries and quantitative PCR, we compared the microbial community composition before and after FP treatment. The bacterial community became more diverse after FP pre-treatment and was populated more by phylotypes associated with cellulose fermentation (Ruminococcus), scavenging of biomass-derived organic carbon (Chloroflexi), and homo-acetogenesis (Treponema). We interpret that, as the overall activity of the community was stimulated by addition of more bioavailable organic matter, the bacterial community became more phylogenetically diverse to take advantage of the added input of biodegradable material and in response to the more efficient utilization of acetate by Methanosaeta.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4517-4526
Number of pages10
JournalWater Research
Volume43
Issue number18
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2009

Fingerprint

Methanogens
Scavenging
relative abundance
acetate
Methane
sludge
Anaerobic digestion
Ecology
Organic carbon
Biological materials
Fermentation
Effluents
clone
Cellulose
Biomass
Genes
methane
Electric fields
microbial ecology
Chemical analysis

Keywords

  • Anaerobic digestion
  • Fermentation
  • Methanogen
  • Methanosaeta
  • Pyrosequencing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Ecological Modeling

Cite this

Focused-Pulsed sludge pre-treatment increases the bacterial diversity and relative abundance of acetoclastic methanogens in a full-scale anaerobic digester. / Zhang, Husen; Banaszak, James E.; Parameswaran, Prathap; Alder, Jared; Krajmalnik-Brown, Rosa; Rittmann, Bruce.

In: Water Research, Vol. 43, No. 18, 10.2009, p. 4517-4526.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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