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Short-Term Effect of Capping on Microbial Communities in Freshwater Sediments

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Because biogas bubbles can influence cap integrity, the effect of capping and cap material on the ebullition potential in sediments must be studied. The goal of this comprehensive study was to determine the short-term effect of capping regime on the activity, metabolic potential, and community structure of sediment microorganisms. To evaluate the effect of capping (sand, synthetic aggregate, and no cap) on microbial communities (i.e., nitrifiers and methanogens), sediments were collected from the Anacostia River (Washington, D.C.). Microbial communities in sand-capped sediments exhibited the highest activity (tetrazolium redox dye, fluorescein diacetate hydrolysis assay, and biogas production), while communities in uncapped sediments exhibited the highest metabolic diversity. Substantial changes in microbial community structure (denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis) did not occur as a result of capping. Our data showed that the nature and magnitude of the effect that capping can have on microbial activity (biogas production) will likely be dependent on the capping materials chosen.
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Keywords: biogas; capping; denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis; microbial activity; microbial communities; sediments

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2009-04-01

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  • Water Environment Research (WER) is published monthly, including an annual Literature Review. A subscription to WER includes access to the latest content back to 1992, as well as access to fast track articles. An individual subscription is valid for 12 months from month of purchase.

    Water Environment Research (WER) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

    Published as: Sewage Works Journal, 1928 - 1949; Sewage and Industrial Wastes, 1950 - 1959; Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 1959 - Oct 1989; Research Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, Nov 1989 - 1991; Water Environment Research, 1992 - present.
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