Currently, anaerobic wastewater treatment serves as an essential municipal waste remediation strategy due to its low cost and efficient waste removal, and the production of methane as a sustainable energy source. To effectively enhance process operation for bioenergy recovery, however, researchers need to better understand the microbial ecology of wastewater treatment. Three primary ecological groups–fermenters, syntrophs, and methanogens–dominate conversion of organic waste to methane. The balance between these organisms is essential for efficient anaerobic digestion. The project could provide the first metabolic characterization of many enigmatic bacteria associated with global carbon cycling, waste treatment, and remediation.
Proposer’s Name: Wen-Tso Liu, University of Illinois