Exploring syntrophic microbial interactions at the start of anaerobic granulation in high-rate wastewater treatment processes

The project aims to understand microbial interactions during formation of anaerobic granular sludge: the driver of successful anaerobic treatment of various types of wastewaters.


Anaerobic digestion (AD) recovers energy from agricultural and industrial waste. However, the industrial applications suffer from long reactor start-up periods and instability of the microbial systems facing toxic substances. All those hurdles have poor microbiological management at their core. The proposed research can improve microbiological management by investigating unique metabolic and structural network of anaerobic granular sludge – a basis for stability and efficiency of AD reactors.

Methodology and Outcomes

The project will involve selective cultivation of known and new syntrophic microorganisms with the aim to collect transcriptome and proteome data related to the interspecies interactions. These data will allow to eventually assemble a granular metabolic network, focused on metabolism and genes involved in the initial granulation stages. Metabolic network can then help device better AD management strategies to maximize energy recovery and decrease start-up related costs.


If you are interested in learning the listed techniques and contribute to this project, please email me.