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Mitigation of ammonia inhibition through bioaugmentation with different microorganisms during anaerobic digestion: Selection of strains and reactor performance evaluation

Yang, Ziyi, Wang, Wen, Liu, Chao, Zhang, Ruihong, Liu, Guangqing
Water research 2019 v.155 pp. 214-224
Methanobacterium, Methanobrevibacter smithii, Methanosaeta, Methanosarcina barkeri, acetates, ammonia, anaerobic digestion, bacteria, bioaugmentation, methane production, methanogens, ribosomal RNA, sequence analysis
The effect of bioaugmentation with different microorganisms on anaerobic digestion to mitigate the ammonia inhibition problem was investigated. Seven pure strains of microorganisms (including obligate aceticlastic methanogen, facultative aceticlastic methanogen, hydrogenotrophic methanogen, syntrophic acetate oxidizing bacteria (SAOB) were selected and thirteen bioaugmentation approaches were tested. Bioaugmentation with hydrogenotrophic methanogen Methanobrevibacter smithii (MBS) and SAOB Syntrophaceticu schinkii together was the optimal choice, methane production (MP) was 71.1% higher than that in Blank, the activity of hydrogenotrophic methanogenesis was greatly heightened according to specific methanogenic activity analysis. Bioaugmentation with facultative aceticlastic methanogen Methanosarcina barkeri (MSB) alone without SAOB addition was also proven efficient (MP was 59.7% higher than that in Blank), both aceticlastic and hydrogenotrophic methanogenesis were enhanced. Further evaluation with carbon isotope fractionations analysis indicated that balancing the activities of the aceticlastic and hydrogenotrophic methanogenic pathways is of great importance. 16s rRNA gene sequencing results showed that Methanobacterium spp. and Methanosaeta spp. were the dominant archaea in all 14 reactors. Nevertheless, bioaugmentation with Methanosaeta spp. did not result in a positive effect on MP. On the other hand, Methanobrevibacter spp. and Methanosarcina spp. were non-dominant archaea (even after bioaugmentation with MBS or MSB, the relative abundances were still poor (<2%)), but displayed pivotal roles in determining the overall microbial consortium and, in turn, improved the overall performance.