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Microbiome characterization of MFCs used for the treatment of swine manure

Conventional swine manure treatment is performed by anaerobic digestion, but nitrogen is not treated. Microbial Fuel Cells (MFCs) allow organic matter and nitrogen removal with concomitant electricity production. MFC microbiomes treating industrial wastewaters as swine manure have not been characterized. In this study a multidisciplinary approach allowed microbiome relation with nutrient removal capacity and electricity production. Two different MFC configurations (C-1 and C-2) were used to treat swine manure. In C-1, the nitrification and denitrification processes took place in different compartments, while in C-2, simultaneous nitrification-denitrification occurred in the cathode. Clostridium disporicum andGeobacter sulfurreducens were identified in the anode compartments of both systems. C. disporicum was related to the degradation of complex organic matter compounds and G. sulfurreducens to electricity production. Different nitrifying bacteria populations were identified in both systems because of the different operational conditions. The highest microbial diversity was detected in cathode compartments of both configurations, including members of BacteroidetesChloroflexiaceae and Proteobacteria. These communities allowed similar removal rates of organic matter (2.02-2.09 kg COD m−3 d−1) and nitrogen (0.11-0.16 kg N m−3 d−1) in both systems. However, they differed in the generation of electric energy (20 and 2 mW m−3 in C-1 and C-2, respectively).

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