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The distinctive microbial community improves composting efficiency in a full-scale hyperthermophilic composting plant

Yu, Zhen, Tang, Jia, Liao, Hanpeng, Liu, Xiaoming, Zhou, Puxiong, Chen, Zhi, Rensing, Christopher, Zhou, Shungui
Bioresource technology 2018 v.265 pp. 146-154
Thermaceae, Thermoactinomycetaceae, composting, high-throughput nucleotide sequencing, microbial communities, sewage sludge, temperature
The application of conventional thermophilic composting (TC) is limited by poor efficiency. Newly-developed hyperthermophilic composting (HTC) is expected to overcome this shortcoming. However, the characterization of microbial communities associated with HTC remains unclear. Here, we compared the performance of HTC and TC in a full-scale sludge composting plant, and found that HTC running at the hyperthermophilic and thermophilic phases for 21 days, led to higher composting efficiency and techno-economic advantages over TC. Results of high-throughput sequencing showed drastic changes in the microbial community during HTC. Thermaceae (35.5–41.7%) was the predominant family in the hyperthermophilic phase, while the thermophilic phase was dominated by both Thermaceae (28.0–53.3%) and Thermoactinomycetaceae (29.9–36.1%). The change of microbial community could be the cause of continuous high temperature in HTC, and thus improve composting efficiency by accelerating the maturation process. This work has provided theoretical and practical guidance for managing sewage sludge by HTC.