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First Author: CAI Guanjing

Anaerobic digestion (AD) is widely used on waste treatment for its great capability of organic degradation and energy recovery. Accumulation of volatile fatty acids (VFAs) caused by impact loadings often leads to the acidification and failure of AD systems. Bioaugmentation is a promising way to accelerate VFA degradation but the succession of microbial communities usually caused unpredictable consequences. In this study, we used the sludge previously acclimated with VFAs for the bioaugmentation of an acidified anaerobic digestion system and increased the methane yield by 8.03–9.59 times. To see how the succession of microbial communities affected bioaugmentation, dual-chamber devices separated by membrane filters were used to control the interactions between the acidified and acclimated sludges. The experimental group with separated sludges showed significant advantages of VFA consumption (5.5 times less final VFA residue than the control), while the group with mixed sludge produced more methane (4.0 times higher final methane yield than the control). Microbial community analysis further highlighted the great influences of microbial interaction on the differentiation of metabolic pathways. Acetoclastic methanogens from the acclimated sludge acted as the main contributors to pH neutralization and methane production during the early phase of bioaugmentation, and maintained active in the mixed sludge but degenerated in the separated sludges where interactions between sludge microbiotas were limited. Instead, syntrophic butyrate and acetate oxidation coupled with nitrate and sulfate reduction was enriched in the separated sludges, which lowered the methane conversion rate and would cause the failure of bioaugmentation. Our study revealed the importance of microbial interactions and the functionality of enriched microbes, as well as the potential strategies to optimize the durability and efficiency of bioaugmentation.

Contact the author: ZHU Gefu
Page Number: 142425
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PubYear: February 2021
Volume: 754
The full text link: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.142425