Microbial characteristics in anaerobic membrane bioreactor treating domestic sewage: Effects of HRT and process performance

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Two anaerobic membrane bioreactors (AnMBRs) equipped with different membrane pore size (0.4 or 0.05 µm) were operated at 25˚C and fed with domestic wastewater. The hydraulic retention time (HRT) of the reactors was shortened. The microbial communities of the two AnMBRs were investigated by 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing to see the effects of HRT. The predominant Archaea was an aceticlastic methanogen Methanosaeta. The composition of hydrogenotrophic methanogens changed with the HRTs: the population of Methanobacterium was higher for longer HRTs, whereas the population of unclassified Methanoregulaceae was higher for shorter HRTs. The Anaerolineae, Bacteroidia and Clostridia bacteria were dominant in both of the reactors, with a combined relative abundance of over 55%. The relative abundance of Anaerolineae was proportional to the biogas production performance. The change in the population of hydrogenotrophic methanogens or Anaerolineae can be used as an indicator for process monitoring. The sum of the relative abundance of Anaerolineae and Clostridia fluctuated slightly with changes in the HRT in both AnMBRs when the reactor was stably operated. The co-occurrence analysis revealed the relative abundance of the operational taxonomic units belonging to Anaerolineae and Clostridia was functionally equivalent during the treatment of real domestic sewage. A principal coordination analysis revealed that the changes in the microbial community in each reactor were consistent with the change of HRT. In addition, both the HRT and the stability of the process are important factors for maintaining microbial community structures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)392-399
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Environmental Sciences (China)
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Jan


  • Anaerobic membrane bioreactor
  • Co-occurrence analysis
  • HRT
  • Hydrogenotrophic methanogen
  • Microbial community structure
  • Principal coordinate analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Environmental Science(all)


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