Characterising a Field Methane Oxidation Biofilter - Treating Farm Methane Emissions from Massey University No. 4 Dairy Pond
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This study builds on the findings of Pratt et al. (2012b), demonstrating that the field soil biofilter operating at Massey No. 4 dairy farm pond can achieve high methane (CH4) removal efficiency. The aim of the study was to characterise methanotroph (CH4 - eating bacteria) abundance and diversity in the column biofilter that has been operating almost continuously for 5 years with little maintenance. The methanotroph abundance and diversity in the reconstituted biofilter were studied for 3 months using the molecular biology technique, quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR). Biofilter parameters including moisture content, pH, microbial biomass carbon (MBC), and microbial biomass nitrogen (MBN) were measured. Results revealed that type I, type X, and type II communities of methanotrophs were present across the biofilter, but type X and type I were found to be dominant. Methylocapsa were significantly higher than type I and type II community, with p values of 0.075 and 0.089, respectively. Other subgroups were minor, and included Methylococcus and the Methylobacter/Methylomonas/Methylomicrobium/Methylosarcina genera belonging to type I; and Methylosinus and Methylocystis belonging to type II, as indicated by the respective gene copy numbers. Overall, the type I and type X populations of methanotrophs increased from day-0 to day-90, positively correlating with the increase in CH4 removal. The maximum CH4 removal rate achieved at the end of 90 days of study was 30.3 g m–3 h–1, which is higher than earlier reported by Pratt et al. (2012b). This study demonstrated the importance of biofilter moisture content and pH in controlling CH4 oxidation rates; and the effect of the acidic environment on changing active / inactive population dynamics of methanotrophs.
Nutrient Management for the Farm, Catchment and Community. Occasional Report No. 27
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Agriculture, Land and Farm Management not elsewhere classified