Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 98, Issue 12, pp 5709–5718 | Cite as

Metagenomic analysis of sludge from full-scale anaerobic digesters operated in municipal wastewater treatment plants

  • Ying Yang
  • Ke Yu
  • Yu Xia
  • Frankie T. K. Lau
  • Daniel T. W. Tang
  • Wing Cheong Fung
  • Herbert H. P. Fang
  • Tong ZhangEmail author
Environmental biotechnology


This study applied Illumina high-throughput sequencing to explore the microbial communities and functions in anaerobic digestion sludge (ADS) from two wastewater treatment plants based on a metagenomic view. Taxonomic analysis using SILVA SSU database indicated that Proteobacteria (9.52–13.50 %), Bacteroidetes (7.18 %–10.65 %) and Firmicutes (7.53 %–9.46 %) were the most abundant phyla in the ADS. Differences of microbial communities between the two types of ADS were identified. Genera of Methanosaeta and Methanosarcina were the major methanogens. Functional analysis by SEED subsystems showed that the basic metabolic functions of metagenomes in the four ADS samples had no significant difference among them, but they were different from other microbial communities from activated sludge, human faeces, ocean and soil. Abundances of genes in methanogenesis pathway were also quantified using a methanogenesis genes database extracted from KEGG. Results showed that acetotrophic was the major methanogenic pathway in the anaerobic sludge digestion.


Anaerobic digestion sludge Taxonomic analysis Functional SEED subsystems Methanogenesis pathway 



This work is supported by Hong Kong General Research Fund (7198/10E). Ying Yang, Ke Yu, and Yu Xia thank The University of Hong Kong for the postgraduate studentship. We thank the Drainage Services Department of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region for their support for this study.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

253_2014_5648_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (661 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 660 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ying Yang
    • 1
  • Ke Yu
    • 1
  • Yu Xia
    • 1
  • Frankie T. K. Lau
    • 2
  • Daniel T. W. Tang
    • 2
  • Wing Cheong Fung
    • 2
  • Herbert H. P. Fang
    • 1
  • Tong Zhang
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Environmental Biotechnology Laboratory, Department of Civil EngineeringUniversity of Hong KongHong KongChina
  2. 2.Drainage Services DepartmentGovernment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative RegionHong KongChina

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