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Water Res. 2004 May;38(10):2537-50.

The effects of micro-aeration on the phylogenetic diversity of microorganisms in a thermophilic anaerobic municipal solid-waste digester.

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Department of Materials and Life Science, Graduate School of Science and Technology, Kumamoto University, 2-39-1 Kurokami, Kumamoto City, Kumamoto 860-8555, Japan.


We demonstrated previously that micro-aeration allows construction of an effective thermophilic methane-fermentation system for treatment of municipal solid waste (MSW) without production of H(2)S. In the present study, we compared the microbial communities in a thermophilic MSW digester without aeration and with micro-aeration by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE), phylogenetic analysis of libraries of 16S rRNA gene clones and quantitative real-time PCR. Moreover, we studied the activity of sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB) by analysis of the transcription of the gene for dissimilatory sulfite reductase (dsr). Experiments using FISH revealed that microorganisms belonging to the domain Bacteria dominated in the digester both without aeration and with micro-aeration. Phylogenetic analysis based on 16S rRNA gene and analysis of bacteria by DGGE did not reveal any obvious difference within the microbial communities under the two aeration conditions, and bacteria affiliated with the phylum Firmicutes were dominant. In Archaea, the population of Methanosarcina decreased while the population of Methanoculleus increased as a result of micro-aerations as revealed by the analysis of 16S rRNA gene clones and quantitative real-time PCR. Reverse transcription and PCR (RT-PCR) demonstrated the transcription of dsrA not only in the absence of aeration but also in the presence of micro-aeration, even under conditions where no H(2)S was detected in the biogas. In conclusion, micro-aeration has no obvious effects on the phylogenetic diversity of microorganisms. Furthermore, the activity of SRBs in the digester was not repressed even though the concentration of H(2)S in the biogas was very low under the micro-aeration conditions.

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