Matching Items (44)

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Impact of Ammonium on Syntrophic Organohalide-Respiring and Fermenting Microbial Communities

Description

Syntrophic interactions between organohalide-respiring and fermentative microorganisms are critical for effective bioremediation of halogenated compounds. This work investigated the effect of ammonium concentration (up to 4 g liter[superscript −1] NH4+-N)

Syntrophic interactions between organohalide-respiring and fermentative microorganisms are critical for effective bioremediation of halogenated compounds. This work investigated the effect of ammonium concentration (up to 4 g liter[superscript −1] NH4+-N) on trichloroethene-reducing Dehalococcoides mccartyi and Geobacteraceae in microbial communities fed lactate and methanol. We found that production of ethene by D. mccartyi occurred in mineral medium containing ≤2 g liter[superscript −1] NH4+-N and in landfill leachate. For the partial reduction of trichloroethene (TCE) to cis-dichloroethene (cis-DCE) at ≥1 g liter[superscript −1] NH4+-N, organohalide-respiring dynamics shifted from D. mccartyi and Geobacteraceae to mainly D. mccartyi. An increasing concentration of ammonium was coupled to lower metabolic rates, longer lag times, and lower gene abundances for all microbial processes studied. The methanol fermentation pathway to acetate and H[subscript 2] was conserved, regardless of the ammonium concentration provided. However, lactate fermentation shifted from propionic to acetogenic at concentrations of ≥2 g liter[superscript −1] NH4+-N. Our study findings strongly support a tolerance of D. mccartyi to high ammonium concentrations, highlighting the feasibility of organohalide respiration in ammonium-contaminated subsurface environments.

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Date Created
  • 2016-04-20

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Draft Genome Sequence of the Gram-Positive Thermophilic Iron Reducer Thermincola ferriacetica Strain Z-0001T

Description

A 3.19-Mbp draft genome of the Gram-positive thermophilic iron-reducing Firmicutes isolate from the Peptococcaceae family, Thermincola ferriacetica Z-0001, was assembled at ~100× coverage from 100-bp paired-end Illumina reads. The draft

A 3.19-Mbp draft genome of the Gram-positive thermophilic iron-reducing Firmicutes isolate from the Peptococcaceae family, Thermincola ferriacetica Z-0001, was assembled at ~100× coverage from 100-bp paired-end Illumina reads. The draft genome contains 3,274 predicted genes (3,187 protein coding genes) and putative multiheme c-type cytochromes.

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Date Created
  • 2015-09-24

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Biochemical Methane Potential (BMP) Tests and Microbial Electrochemical Cells (MECs) Identify Differences in Pretreated Waste Activates Sludge (WAS) Streams

Description

Anaerobic digestion (AD), a common process in wastewater treatment plants, is traditionally assessed with Biochemical Methane Potential (BMP) tests. Hydrolysis is considered its rate-limiting step. During my research, I assessed

Anaerobic digestion (AD), a common process in wastewater treatment plants, is traditionally assessed with Biochemical Methane Potential (BMP) tests. Hydrolysis is considered its rate-limiting step. During my research, I assessed the impact of pretreatment on BMPs and microbial electrochemical cells (MECs). In the first set of experiments, BMP tests were performed using alkaline and thermal pretreated waste activated sludge (WAS), a control group, and a negative control group as samples and AD sludge (ADS) as inoculum. The data obtained suggested that BMPs do not necessarily require ADS, since samples without inoculum produced 5-20% more CH4. However, ADS appears to reduce the initial methanogenesis lag in BMPs, as no pH inhibition and immediate CH4 production were observed. Consumption rate constants, which are related to hydrolysis, were calculated using three methods based on CH4 production, SSCOD concentration, and the sum of both, called the lumped parameter. All the values observed were within literature values, yet each provide a different picture of what is happening in the system. For the second set of experiments, the current production of 3 H-type MECs were compared to the CH4 production of BMPs to assess WAS solids' biodegradability and consumption rates relative to the pretreatment methods employed for their substrate. BMPs fed with pretreated and control WAS solids were performed at 0.42 and 1.42 WAS-to-ADS ratios. An initial CH4 production lag of about 12 days was observed in the BMP assays, but MECs immediately began producing current. When compared in terms of COD, MECs produced more current than the BMPs produced CH4, indicating that the MEC may be capable of consuming different types of substrate and potentially overestimating CH4 production in anaerobic digesters. I also observed 2 to 3 different consumption events in MECs versus 3 for BMP assays, but these had similar magnitudes, durations, and starting times in the control and thermal pretreated WAS-fed assays and not in alkaline assays. This might indicate that MECs identified the differences of alkaline pretreatment, but not between control WAS and thermal pretreated WAS. Furthermore, HPLC results suggest at least one hydrolysis event, as valerate, butyrate, and traces of acetate are observed in the reactors' effluents. Moreover, a possible inhibition of valerate-fixing microbial communities due to pretreatment and the impossibility of valerate consumption by ARB might explain its presence in the reactors' effluents.

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  • 2017-05

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Archaea and Bacteria Acclimate to High Total Ammonia in a Methanogenic Reactor Treating Swine Waste

Description

Inhibition by ammonium at concentrations above 1000 mgN/L is known to harm the methanogenesis phase of anaerobic digestion. We anaerobically digested swine waste and achieved steady state COD-removal efficiency of around

Inhibition by ammonium at concentrations above 1000 mgN/L is known to harm the methanogenesis phase of anaerobic digestion. We anaerobically digested swine waste and achieved steady state COD-removal efficiency of around 52% with no fatty-acid or H[subscript 2] accumulation. As the anaerobic microbial community adapted to the gradual increase of total ammonia-N (NH[subscript 3]-N) from 890 ± 295 to 2040 ± 30 mg/L, the Bacterial and Archaeal communities became less diverse. Phylotypes most closely related to hydrogenotrophic Methanoculleus (36.4%) and Methanobrevibacter (11.6%), along with acetoclastic Methanosaeta (29.3%), became the most abundant Archaeal sequences during acclimation. This was accompanied by a sharp increase in the relative abundances of phylotypes most closely related to acetogens and fatty-acid producers (Clostridium, Coprococcus, and Sphaerochaeta) and syntrophic fatty-acid Bacteria (Syntrophomonas, Clostridium, Clostridiaceae species, and Cloacamonaceae species) that have metabolic capabilities for butyrate and propionate fermentation, as well as for reverse acetogenesis. Our results provide evidence countering a prevailing theory that acetoclastic methanogens are selectively inhibited when the total ammonia-N concentration is greater than ~1000 mgN/L. Instead, acetoclastic and hydrogenotrophic methanogens coexisted in the presence of total ammonia-N of ~2000 mgN/L by establishing syntrophic relationships with fatty-acid fermenters, as well as homoacetogens able to carry out forward and reverse acetogenesis.

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Date Created
  • 2016-08-11

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Effects of pulsed electric field treatment on enhancing lipid recovery from the microalga, Scenedesmus

Description

Chloroform and methanol are superior solvents for lipid extraction from photosynthetic microorganisms, because they can overcome the resistance offered by the cell walls and membranes, but they are too toxic

Chloroform and methanol are superior solvents for lipid extraction from photosynthetic microorganisms, because they can overcome the resistance offered by the cell walls and membranes, but they are too toxic and expensive to use for large-scale fuel production. Biomass from the photosynthetic microalga Scenedesmus, subjected to a commercially available pre-treatment technology called Focused-Pulsed® (FP), yielded 3.1-fold more crude lipid and fatty acid methyl ester (FAME) after extraction with a range of solvents. FP treatment increased the FAME-to-crude-lipid ratio for all solvents, which means that the extraction of non-lipid materials was minimized, while the FAME profile itself was unchanged compared to the control. FP treatment also made it possible to use only a small proportion of chloroform and methanol, along with isopropanol, to obtain equivalent yields of lipid and FAME as with 100% chloroform plus methanol.

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Date Created
  • 2014-12-01

Improving lipid recovery from Scenedesmus wet biomass by surfactant-assisted disruption

Description

Microalgae-derived lipids are good sources of biofuel, but extracting them involves high cost, energy
expenditure, and environmental risk. Surfactant treatment to disrupt Scenedesmus biomass was evaluated
as a means to

Microalgae-derived lipids are good sources of biofuel, but extracting them involves high cost, energy
expenditure, and environmental risk. Surfactant treatment to disrupt Scenedesmus biomass was evaluated
as a means to make solvent extraction more efficient. Surfactant treatment increased the recovery of fatty
acid methyl ester (FAME) by as much as 16-fold vs. untreated biomass using isopropanol extraction, and
nearly 100% FAME recovery was possible without any Folch solvent, which is toxic and expensive. Surfactant
treatment caused cell disruption and morphological changes to the cell membrane, as documented by
transmission electron microscopy and flow cytometry. Surfactant treatment made it possible to extract wet
biomass at room temperature, which avoids the expense and energy cost associated with heating
and drying of biomass during the extraction process. The best FAME recovery was obtained from highlipid
biomass treated with Myristyltrimethylammonium bromide (MTAB)- and 3-(decyldimethylammonio)-
propanesulfonate inner salt (3_DAPS)-surfactants using a mixed solvent (hexane : isopropanol = 1 : 1, v/v)
vortexed for just 1 min; this was as much as 160-fold higher than untreated biomass. The critical micelle
concentration of the surfactants played a major role in dictating extraction performance, but the growth
stage of the biomass had an even larger impact on how well the surfactants disrupted the cells and
improved lipid extraction. Surfactant treatment had minimal impact on extracted-FAME profiles and,
consequently, fuel-feedstock quality. This work shows that surfactant treatment is a promising strategy for
more efficient, sustainable, and economical extraction of fuel feedstock from microalgae.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2015-10-20

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Role of bicarbonate as a pH buffer and electron sink in microbial dechlorination of chloroethenes

Description

Background
Buffering to achieve pH control is crucial for successful trichloroethene (TCE) anaerobic bioremediation. Bicarbonate (HCO3−) is the natural buffer in groundwater and the buffer of choice in the laboratory

Background
Buffering to achieve pH control is crucial for successful trichloroethene (TCE) anaerobic bioremediation. Bicarbonate (HCO3−) is the natural buffer in groundwater and the buffer of choice in the laboratory and at contaminated sites undergoing biological treatment with organohalide respiring microorganisms. However, HCO3− also serves as the electron acceptor for hydrogenotrophic methanogens and hydrogenotrophic homoacetogens, two microbial groups competing with organohalide respirers for hydrogen (H2). We studied the effect of HCO3− as a buffering agent and the effect of HCO3−-consuming reactions in a range of concentrations (2.5-30 mM) with an initial pH of 7.5 in H2-fed TCE reductively dechlorinating communities containing Dehalococcoides, hydrogenotrophic methanogens, and hydrogenotrophic homoacetogens.
Results
Rate differences in TCE dechlorination were observed as a result of added varying HCO3− concentrations due to H2-fed electrons channeled towards methanogenesis and homoacetogenesis and pH increases (up to 8.7) from biological HCO3− consumption. Significantly faster dechlorination rates were noted at all HCO3− concentrations tested when the pH buffering was improved by providing 4-(2-hydroxyethyl)-1-piperazineethanesulfonic acid (HEPES) as an additional buffer. Electron balances and quantitative PCR revealed that methanogenesis was the main electron sink when the initial HCO3− concentrations were 2.5 and 5 mM, while homoacetogenesis was the dominant process and sink when 10 and 30 mM HCO3− were provided initially.
Conclusions
Our study reveals that HCO3− is an important variable for bioremediation of chloroethenes as it has a prominent role as an electron acceptor for methanogenesis and homoacetogenesis. It also illustrates the changes in rates and extent of reductive dechlorination resulting from the combined effect of electron donor competition stimulated by HCO3− and the changes in pH exerted by methanogens and homoacetogens.

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Date Created
  • 2012-09-13

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Powerful fermentative hydrogen evolution of photosynthate in the cyanobacteriuni Lyngbya aestuarii BL J mediated by a bidirectional hydrogenase

Description

Cyanobacteria are considered good models for biohydrogen production because they are relatively simple organisms with a demonstrable ability to generate H[subscript 2] under certain physiological conditions. However, most produce only

Cyanobacteria are considered good models for biohydrogen production because they are relatively simple organisms with a demonstrable ability to generate H[subscript 2] under certain physiological conditions. However, most produce only little H[subscript 2], revert readily to H[subscript 2] consumption, and suffer from hydrogenase sensitivity to O[subscript 2]. Strains of the cyanobacteria Lyngbya aestuarii and Microcoleus chthonoplastes obtained from marine intertidal cyanobacterial mats were recently found to display much better H[subscript 2] production potential. Because of their ecological origin in environments that become quickly anoxic in the dark, we hypothesized that this differential ability may have evolved to serve a role in the fermentation of the photosynthate. Here we show that, when forced to ferment internal substrate, these cyanobacteria display desirable characteristics of physiological H[subscript 2] production. Among them, the strain L. aestuarii BL J had the fastest specific rates and attained the highest H[subscript 2] concentrations during fermentation of photosynthate, which proceeded via a mixed acid fermentation pathway to yield acetate, ethanol, lactate, H[subscript 2], CO[subscript 2], and pyruvate. Contrary to expectations, the H[subscript 2] yield per mole of glucose was only average compared to that of other cyanobacteria. Thermodynamic analyses point to the use of electron donors more electronegative than NAD(P)H in Lyngbya hydrogenases as the basis for its strong H[subscript 2] production ability. In any event, the high specific rates and H[subscript 2] concentrations coupled with the lack of reversibility of the enzyme, at the expense of internal, photosynthetically generated reductants, makes L. aestuarii BL J and/or its enzymes, a potentially feasible platform for large-scale H[subscript 2] production.

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Date Created
  • 2014-12-10

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Microbial communities involved in carbon monoxide and syngas conversion to biofuels and chemicals

Description

On average, our society generates ~0.5 ton of municipal solid waste per person annually. Biomass waste can be gasified to generate synthesis gas (syngas), a gas mixture consisting predominantly of

On average, our society generates ~0.5 ton of municipal solid waste per person annually. Biomass waste can be gasified to generate synthesis gas (syngas), a gas mixture consisting predominantly of CO, CO2, and H2. Syngas, rich in carbon and electrons, can fuel the metabolism of carboxidotrophs, anaerobic microorganisms that metabolize CO (a toxic pollutant) and produce biofuels (H2, ethanol) and commodity chemicals (acetate and other fatty acids). Despite the attempts for commercialization of syngas fermentation by several companies, the metabolic processes involved in CO and syngas metabolism are not well understood. This dissertation aims to contribute to the understanding of CO and syngas fermentation by uncovering key microorganisms and understanding their metabolism. For this, microbiology and molecular biology techniques were combined with analytical chemistry analyses and deep sequencing techniques. First, environments where CO is commonly detected, including the seafloor, volcanic sand, and sewage sludge, were explored to identify potential carboxidotrophs. Since carboxidotrophs from sludge consumed CO 1000 faster than those in nature, mesophilic sludge was used as inoculum to enrich for CO- and syngas- metabolizing microbes. Two carboxidotrophs were isolated from this culture: an acetate/ethanol-producer 99% phylogenetically similar to Acetobacterium wieringae and a novel H2-producer, Pleomorphomonas carboxidotrophicus sp. nov. Comparison of CO and syngas fermentation by the CO-enriched culture and the isolates suggested mixed-culture syngas fermentation as a better alternative to ferment CO-rich gases. Advantages of mixed cultures included complete consumption of H2 and CO2 (along with CO), flexibility under different syngas compositions, functional redundancy (for acetate production) and high ethanol production after providing a continuous supply of electrons. Lastly, dilute ethanol solutions, typical of syngas fermentation processes, were upgraded to medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA), biofuel precursors, through the continuous addition of CO. In these bioreactors, methanogens were inhibited and Peptostreptococcaceae and Lachnospiraceae spp. most likely partnered with carboxidotrophs for MCFA production. These results reveal novel microorganisms capable of effectively consuming an atmospheric pollutant, shed light on the interplay between syngas components, microbial communities, and metabolites produced, and support mixed-culture syngas fermentation for the production of a wide variety of biofuels and commodity chemicals.

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Date Created
  • 2017

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Detection and surface reactivity of engineered nanoparticles in water

Description

Engineered nanoparticles (NPs) pose risk potentials, if they exist in water systems at significant concentrations and if they remain reactive to cause toxicity. Three goals guided this study: (1)

Engineered nanoparticles (NPs) pose risk potentials, if they exist in water systems at significant concentrations and if they remain reactive to cause toxicity. Three goals guided this study: (1) establishing NP detecting methods with high sensitivity to tackle low concentration and small sizes, (2) achieving assays capable of measuring NP surface reactivity and identifying surface reaction mechanisms, and (3) understanding the impact of surface adsorption of ions on surface reactivity of NPs in water.

The size detection limit of single particle inductively coupled plasma spectrometry (spICP-MS) was determined for 40 elements, demonstrating the feasibility of spICP-MS to different NP species in water. The K-means Clustering Algorithm was used to process the spICP-MS signals, and achieved precise particle-noise differentiation and quantitative particle size resolution. A dry powder assay based on NP-catalyzed methylene blue (MB) reduction was developed to rapidly and sensitively detect metallic NPs in water by measuring their catalytic reactivity.

Four different wet-chemical-based NP surface reactivity assays were demonstrated: “borohydride reducing methylene blue (BHMB)”, “ferric reducing ability of nanoparticles (FRAN)”, “electron paramagnetic resonance detection of hydroxyl radical (EPR)”, and “UV-illuminated methylene blue degradation (UVMB)”. They gave different reactivity ranking among five NP species, because they targeted for different surface reactivity types (catalytic, redox and photo reactivity) via different reaction mechanisms. Kinetic modeling frameworks on the assay outcomes revealed two surface electron transfer schemes, namely the “sacrificial reducing” and the “electrode discharging”, and separated interfering side reactions from the intended surface reaction.

The application of NPs in chemical mechanical polishing (CMP) was investigated as an industrial case to understand NP surface transformation via adsorbing ions in water. Simulation of wastewater treatment showed CMP NPs were effectively removed (>90%) by lime softening at high pH and high calcium dosage, but 20-40% of them remained in water after biomass adsorption process. III/V ions (InIII, GaIII, and AsIII/V) derived from semiconductor materials showed adsorption potentials to common CMP NPs (SiO2, CeO2 and Al2O3), and a surface complexation model was developed to determine their intrinsic complexation constants for different NP species. The adsorption of AsIII and AsV ions onto CeO2 NPs mitigated the surface reactivity of CeO2 NPs suggested by the FRAN and EPR assays. The impact of the ion adsorption on the surface reactivity of CeO2 NPs was related to the redox state of Ce and As on the surface, but varied with ion species and surface reaction mechanisms.

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Date Created
  • 2018