The objective of this study is to investigate the responses of methanogen populations to poultry waste addition by comparing the archaeal microbial populations in continuous anaerobic digesters with or without the addition of poultry waste as a co-substrate. Poultry waste was characterized as an organic/nitrogen-rich substrate for anaerobic digestion. Supplementing dilute dairy waste with poultry waste for anaerobic co-digestion to increase organic loading rate by 50% resulted in improved biogas production. Elevated ammonia derived from poultry waste did not lead to process inhibition at the organic loadings tested, demonstrating the feasibility of the anaerobic co-digestion of dairy and poultry wastes for improved treatment efficiency. The stability of the anaerobic co-digestion process was linked to the robust archaeal microbial community, which remained mostly unchanged in community structure following increases in organic loading and ammonia levels. Surprisingly, Crenarchaeota archaeal populations, instead of the Euryarchaeota methanogens, dominated the archaeal communities in the anaerobic digesters. The ecological functions of these abundant non-methanogen archaeal populations in anaerobic digestion remain to be identified.
- Anaerobic digestion
- Animal waste