Biodiversity of anaerobic cellulolytic bacteria in landfill sites
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Landfills play an important role in the removal of waste from the surroundings. There is a limit to the types of waste that can be recycled and the landfill becomes the final method of waste disposal. Because waste constitutes a wide variety of materials, the microbial consortia that develop within a landfill will be equally varied, depending on the type of waste deposited, the temperature of the landfill and moisture content of the waste. The metabolism of these microbial consortia can result in products that are either harmful or beneficial. In order to increase the pool of knowledge on landfill microbiology, it is important to study the various consortia that inhabit the landfill to determine the various microbial interactions that occur and subsequently to manipulate these interactions to enhance the benefits of a landfill site and reduce the harmful effects. In this research, an attempt was made to isolate anaerobic cellulolytic bacteria from a landfill site. Six waste samples, varying in age were obtained over a period of two years. Samples were excavated from a maximum depth of 4m. Samples are processed in anaerobic, phosphate buffer and cultivated in various pre-reduced anaerobic media and incubated under anaerobic conditions. Samples were also collected from other potential anaerobic sites namely, anaerobic sludge, decomposing bagasse, compost, manure, rumen and pond sediment. Results of degradation of the cellulose source (Whatman No. 1 filter paper) indicated that it was possible to cultivate cellulose-degrading microorganisms from the landfill. Zones of clearing around colonies, which would be indicative of cellulose degradation on solid media, were not obtained. Samples from the anaerobic sludge, compost and rumen showed degradation of cellulose in liquid media but not on solid media. It is concluded that the solid media used was unsuitable for the cultivation of anaerobic, cellulolytic bacteria or that the anaerobic conditions employed were not adequate to initiate the growth of the anaerobic cellulolytic bacteria.