Assessing methanogenic archaeal community in full scale anaerobic sludge digester systems in Dubai, United Arab Emirates

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Open Microbiology Journal


© 2018 Khan et al. Introduction: Anaerobic digestion for methane production comprises of an exceptionally diverse microbial consortium, a profound understanding about which is still constrained. In this study, the methanogenic archaeal communities in three full-scale anaerobic digesters of a Municipal Wastewater Treatment Plant were analyzed by Fluorescence in situ hybridization and quantitative real-time Polymerase Chain Reaction (qPCR) technique. Methods & Materials: Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) was performed to detect and quantify the methanogenic Archaea in the sludge samples whereas qPCR was carried out to support the FISH analysis. Multiple probes targeting domain archaea, different orders and families of Archaea were used for the studies. Results and Discussion: In general, the aceticlastic organisms (Methanosarcinaceae & Methanosaetaceae) were more abundant than the hydrogenotrophic organisms (Methanobacteriales, Methanomicrobiales, Methanobacteriaceae & Methanococcales). Both FISH and qPCR indicated that family Methanosaetaceae was the most abundant suggesting that aceticlastic methanogenesis is probably the dominant methane production pathway in these digesters. Conclusion: Future work involving high-throughput sequencing methods and correlating archaeal communities with the main operational parameters of anaerobic digesters will help to obtain a better understanding of the dynamics of the methanogenic archaeal community in wastewater treatment plants in United Arab Emirates (UAE) which in turn would lead to improved performance of anaerobic sludge digesters.

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