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Dynamics of bacterial communities in a pilot scale methane biofilter Open Access


Other title
microbial ecology
methane biofilter
methane oxidizing bacteria
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Miazga-Rodriguez, Misha D
Supervisor and department
Stein, Lisa
Examining committee member and department
Buchanan, Ian (Civil and Environmental Engineering)
Foght, Julia (Biological Sciences)
Szymanski, Christine (Biological Sciences)
Department of Biological Sciences
Microbiology and Biotechnology
Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Science
Degree level
Methane is the second most important greenhouse gas after carbon dioxide with a global warming potential over 100 years 25 times that of CO2. Today, anthropogenic sources of methane comprise 60% of the global methane budget per year and tools for mitigating emissions have become increasingly important to limit climate change. One such tool is methane biofilters (MBF) which utilize biological metabolism, mainly the metabolism of methane oxidizing bacteria (MOB), to scrub methane. To date, the majority of research on MBFs has focussed on the physical aspects of biofilter function rather than the biological component. In this study, bacterial and MOB communities in a pilot scale MBF were studied over the course of a year to assess how these communities change over time and in response to the presence or absence of CH4. The bacterial and MOB communities were assessed by analyzing 16S rRNA and methane monooxygenase subunit A (pmoA) genes using DGGE, T-RFLP, RFLP, and qPCR methodologies. The MBF bacterial community composition changed in response to the presence or absence of methane. The MOB community composition was unaffected by methane input; the dominant community members being related to the Methylomicrobium and Methylobacter genera and lower abundance members belonging to the Methylocaldum and Methylocystis genera. The size of the bacterial community and the MOB community was numerically larger when methane was present and smaller when methane was absent. Enrichment experiments yielded a MOB related to the Methylomicrobium genus. No published studies could be found that presented both pmoA sequence data or provided general bacterial community information from a functional pilot scale MBF as a function of methane input. Hence, the data from this study add new information to our understanding of bacterial community dynamics in a pilot scale MBF.
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