U.S. Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service, Lincoln, Nebraska


Date of this Version



Anaerobe 21 (2013) 50-57; http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.anaerobe.2013.03.005


Anaerobic lagoons are a standard practice for the treatment of swine wastewater. This practice relies heavily on microbiological processes to reduce concentrated organic material and nutrients. Despite this reliance on microbiological processes, research has only recently begun to identify and enumerate the myriad and complex interactions that occur in this microbial ecosystem. To further this line of study, we utilized a next-generation sequencing (NGS) technology to gain a deeper insight into the microbial communities along the water column of four anaerobic swine wastewater lagoons. Analysis of roughly one million 16S rDNA sequences revealed a predominance of operational taxonomic units (OTUs) classified as belonging to the phyla Firmicutes (54.1%) and Proteobacteria (15.8%). At the family level, 33 bacterial families were found in all 12 lagoon sites and accounted for between 30% and 50% of each lagoon’s OTUs. Analysis by nonmetric multidimensional scaling (NMS) revealed that TKN, COD, ORP, TSS, and DO were the major environmental variables in affecting microbial community structure. Overall, 839 individual genera were classified, with 223 found in all four lagoons. An additional 321 genera were identified in sole lagoons. The top 25 genera accounted for approximately 20% of the OTUs identified in the study, and the low abundances of most of the genera suggests that most OTUs are present at low levels. Overall, these results demonstrate that anaerobic lagoons have distinct microbial communities which are strongly controlled by the environmental conditions present in each individual lagoon.