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Plenary Lecture 12: Determining the microbial population dynamics of anaerobic digestion using metagenomics

Thursday 11th September 2014 - 15:55 to 16:30
INI Seminar Room 1
Co-authors: Henry Nicholls (University of York), Kelly Redeker (University of York), Peter Ashton (University of York)

Anaerobic digestion (AD) is a process that uses microbial consortia to convert organic waste to methane and carbon dioxide (“biogas”) that can be burned to generate heat and electricity. This technology can be applied to both liquid and solid wastes and is in common use. While there is a broad understanding of the principles of AD, the dynamics of the microbial populations involved in AD are still poorly characterised. Recent advances in next generation DNA sequencing technologies (NGS) have made shotgun sequencing of samples a cost-effective means for determining the composition of microbial populations. We are using NGS to build a detailed catalogue of the microbes present in a bench-scale AD system and to track the dynamics of this microbial community with the goals of identifying those species that are essential for the degradation of specific molecules and how the conflicting requirements of different members of the population are met.
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University of Cambridge Research Councils UK
    Clay Mathematics Institute London Mathematical Society NM Rothschild and Sons