Predictive functional profiling using marker gene sequences and community diversity analyses of microbes in full-scale anaerobic sludge digesters
Anaerobic digestion (AD) is widely used in treating the sewage sludge, as it can reduce the amount of sludge, eliminate pathogens and produce biofuel. To enhance the operational performance and stability of anaerobic bioreactors, operational and conventional chemical data from full-scale sludge anaerobic digesters were collected over a 2-year period and summarized, and the microbial community diversity of the sludge sample was investigated at various stages of the AD process. For the purpose of distinguishing between the functional and community diversity of the microbes, Phylogenetic Investigation of Communities by Reconstruction of Unobserved States (PICRUSt) software was used to impute the prevalence of 16S rDNA marker gene sequences in the difference in various sludge samples. Meanwhile, a taxa analysis was also carried out to investigate the different sludge samples. The microbial community diversity analysis of one AD sludge sample showed that the most dominant bacterial genera were Saccharicrinis, Syntrophus, Anaerotruncus and Thermanaerothrix. Among archaea, acetoclastic Methanosaeta represented 56.0 %, and hydrogenotrophic Methanospirillum, Methanoculleus, Methanothermus and Methanolinea accounted for 41.3 % of all methanogens. The taxa, genetic and functional prediction analyses of the feedstock and AD sludge samples suggested great community diversity differences between them. The taxa of bacteria in two AD sludge samples were considerably different, but the abundances of the functional KEGG pathways took on similar levels. The numbers of identified pathogens were significantly lower in the digested sludge than in the feedstock, but the PICRUSt results showed the difference in “human diseases” abundances in the level-1 pathway between the two sludge samples was small.