Fossil Fuel Bioprocessing projects
Understanding Bio-Augmentation for UASB Treating PTA (Purified Terephthalate Acid) Wastewater Through Econgenomic Tools
PTA is used as a raw material to produce many high-value daily products like polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and textile fibers. The wastewater generated through the BP-invented purified terephthalic acid (PTA) process is treated by an anaerobic process known as up-flow anaerobic sludge bed (UASB) reactor, where PTA-degrading microbial community is present in a form of granules. The main objective of this project is to use ecogenomics tools to improve the understanding on the microbial ecology behind PTA degradation and during bio-augmentation, leading to better process performance and cost saving with UASB reactors.
Experiments have been carried out for 2 of the 4 objectives proposed. For objective 1 (metagenomics), a total of ~240 Gb shotgun sequences were obtained for duplicate samples obtained from 4 full-scale reactors and 2 laboratory-scale reactors degrading PTA (n = 12). Sequence assembly, binning and annotation are ongoing. Furthermore, metagenomics will be performed for samples from 4 more full-scale reactors. For objective 2 (inhibition experiments), the first set of 3-4-batch experiments was carried out using granule sludge from a laboratory-scale PTA-degrading reactor in August. The measurements for gas production and substrate degradation are ongoing. Metatranscriptomics will be further performed to identify genes involved in the degradation of terephthalate and benzoate.