Cold adaptation and replicable microbial community development during long-term low-temperature anaerobic digestion treatment of synthetic sewage
Ijaz, U. Z.
Smith, C. J.
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Keating, C, Hughes, D, Mahony, T, Cysneiros, D, Ijaz, U Z, Smith, C J, & O'Flaherty, V. (2018). Cold adaptation and replicable microbial community development during long-term low-temperature anaerobic digestion treatment of synthetic sewage. FEMS Microbiology Ecology, 94(7). doi: 10.1093/femsec/fiy095
The development and activity of a cold-adapting microbial community was monitored during low-temperature anaerobic digestion (LtAD) treatment of wastewater. Two replicate hybrid anaerobic sludge bed-fixed-film reactors treated a synthetic sewage wastewater at 12 degrees C, at organic loading rates of 0.25-1.0 kg chemical oxygen demand (COD) m(-3) d(-1), over 889 days. The inoculum was obtained from a full-scale anaerobic digestion reactor, which was operated at 37 degrees C. Both LtAD reactors readily degraded the influent with COD removal efficiencies regularly exceeding 78% for both the total and soluble COD fractions. The biomass from both reactors was sampled temporally and tested for activity against hydrolytic and methanogenic substrates at 12 degrees C and 37 degrees C. Data indicated that significantly enhanced low-temperature hydrolytic and methanogenic activity developed in both systems. For example, the hydrolysis rate constant (k) at 12 degrees C had increased 20-30-fold by comparison to the inoculum by day 500. Substrate affinity also increased for hydrolytic substrates at low temperature. Next generation sequencing demonstrated that a shift in a community structure occurred over the trial, involving a 1-log-fold change in 25 SEQS (OTU-free approach) from the inoculum. Microbial community structure changes and process performance were replicable in the LtAD reactors.