Bishav Bhattarai

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Study of virus-host interaction in the anaerobic digester using metagenomics for optimization of sustainable waste management and renewable energy production

Bishav Bhattarai, Ananda S. Bhattacharjee, Felipe H. Coutinho, Ramesh Goel

I am a PhD candidate working with Dr. Ramesh Goel at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Utah. My research is studying bacterial, archaeal, and viral ecology in natural and engineered ecosystems. This study can be used to understand biogeochemistry in natural ecosystems and optimizing process performance in engineered bioreactors.
On a global scale, simultaneous reduction of carbon footprint and renewable energy generation remains one of the main challenges to attain global environmental sustainability. Anaerobic digestion of organic wastes generated from wastewater is a promising pathway to overcome this challenge. However, not much attention has been devoted in understanding the dynamics of microorganisms and viruses in anaerobic digesters. Understanding the virus-host interaction can be critical to elucidate the microbial-mediated processes in anaerobic digesters. In this study, multidisciplinary concepts of ecological theory, environmental engineering, and bioinformatics was incorporated to study the virus-host interaction in anaerobic digesters. The impact of biological factors, virus-host interaction, can be incorporated in the anaerobic digestion process leading to optimized organic waste degradation and renewable gas production. This can be a significant contributor to reduce the carbon footprint on the earth in a sustainable way.