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PLFA Profiles For Microbial Community Monitoring In Anaerobic Digestion

T. Schwarzenauer, P. Illmer
Published 2012 · Biology, Medicine

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The use of municipal solid waste as feedstock for biogas production offers an interesting possibility for waste treatment with the beneficial effect of gaining a green energy source. The involved processes are very complex, and many different organisms connected via a dynamic food web are associated with them. These complex interactions within these microbial communities are still not clearly understood. Therefore, a phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) profile analysis method, well established in aerobic but still not as common in anaerobic systems, was used to throw some light on this matter. In the present investigation, a 750 m³ biogas reactor (Roppen, Austria) was monitored over a half-year period. During this period, four different phases in terms of gas production could be determined: low (I), increasing (II), high (III), and decreasing (IV) gas production. In combination with the PLFA profiles, we were able to identify changes in the microbial community associated with these phases.
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