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Monitoring and Modeling the Anaerobic Digestion of Manure with qPCR in a Mesophilic Anaerobic Digester

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Increasing costs of energy and growing concerns about groundwater and air pollution from the land application of manure have re-focused attention on the digestion of manures as a sustainable source of methane. To improve understanding about the performance of a mesophillic, modifiedplug flow (PF) digester fed with cattle manure, samples were collected at various reactor locations and analyzed by quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction (qPCR) to quantify the major orders of methanogenic archaea as well as some representatives of acidogenic (Clostridia and Bacillus) bacteria, targeting 16S ribosomal DNA (rDNA). qPCR assays showed methanogen and acidogen concentrations increased along the reactor flowpath, with increasing distance from the reactor feed. Contrary to expectation, no correlation was observed between these bacterial concentrations and Volatile Solids (VS) content. This study's successful identification and quantitation of methanogens and acidogens suggests qPCR is a good assay for bacterial monitoring in high particulate anaerobic digesters.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2008-01-01

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