Two-stage technologies have been developed for anaerobic digestion of waste-activated sludge. In this study, the archaeal and bacterial community structure dynamics and bioprocess performance of a bench-scale two-stage anaerobic digester treating urban sewage sludge have been studied by the means of high-throughput sequencing techniques and physicochemical parameters such as pH, dried sludge, volatile dried sludge, acid concentration, alkalinity, and biogas generation. The coupled analyses of archaeal and bacterial communities and physicochemical parameters showed a direct relationship between archaeal and bacterial populations and bioprocess performance during start-up and working operation of a two-stage anaerobic digester. Moreover, results demonstrated that archaeal and bacterial community structure was affected by changes in the acid/alkalinity ratio in the bioprocess. Thus, a predominance of the acetoclastic methanogen Methanosaeta was observed in the methanogenic bioreactor at high-value acid/alkaline ratio, while a predominance of Methanomassilicoccaeceae archaea and Methanoculleus genus was observed in the methanogenic bioreactor at low-value acid/alkaline ratio. Biodiversity tag-iTag sequencing studies showed that methanogenic archaea can be also detected in the acidogenic bioreactor, although its biological activity was decreased after 4 months of operation as supported by physicochemical analyses. Also, studies of the VFA producers and VFA consumers microbial populations showed as these microbiota were directly affected by the physicochemical parameters generated in the bioreactors. We suggest that the results obtained in our study could be useful for future implementations of two-stage anaerobic digestion processes at both bench- and full-scale.
- Archaeal dynamics
- iTag sequencing
- Two-stage anaerobic digestion
- Wastewater treatment