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Title: Uncovering microbial community composition, dynamics, and function in a thermophillic anaerobic digester
Author: Smith, Ami Marie
ISNI:       0000 0004 2674 426X
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2008
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Anaerobic digestion is an effective method for reduction of organic waste related pollution while providing a sustainable means of energy production. Anaerobic digestion technologies have been in development for over a century, however much of the microbial diversity responsible for anaerobic digestion remains unknown. Digesters often suffer from Instability leading to inefficiency and failure of the natural microbial process. Greater knowledge of the micrcobial communities involved in anaerobic digestion is important for improving these engineered systems. Many microorganisms are as yet unculturable making it difficult to characterize complex microbial communities. The use of 16S rDNA phylogenetic comparisons has become a powerful tool for elucidating the microbial constituents of complex environmental samples. Volatile fatty acids (VFA's) are important intermediates in the naturally occurring microbial metabolism responsible for methanogenic degradation. Accumulation of VFA's Is a sign of methanogen inhibition and therefore digester malfunction. Acetic acid and propionic acid are important VFA's known to accumulate in anaerobic digesters.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available