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Current Projects

Extremophilic predigestion to enhance energy production from renewable waste streams

Over the last four years, Dr. Aanderud has worked extensively on the degradation of multiple waste streams and have found that waste activated sludge (WAS), then predigested by hyperthermophilic bacteria, produce approximately twice the volume of methane and cause more than 80% of the solids to be digested during anaerobic digestion. We have generated extensive preliminary data tracking the digestion of or WAS in our two-compartment anaerobic system. We will generate continuous data (three consecutive 15-day operational cycles) in our two-compartment system. Data streams included measuring solids destruction, gas composition, and populations of archaea and C. bescii.
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Bioassays to investigate nutrient limitations in Utah Lake

Excess nutrients from human activity trigger toxic cyanobacteria and algal blooms creating expansive hypoxic dead zones in lakes damaging ecosystems, hurting local economies, undermining food and water security, and directly harming human health. We will identify which nutrients limit cyanobacteria and algal primary production in Utah Lake to help describe the current state of the lake with respect to nutrients, trophic state, and ecology.

High Mountain Dust

Atmospheric dust aerosols transport a variety of substances like nutrients, microbes, and heavy metals. This research aims at studying the effects of these substances on alpine lakes across the region. How will they alter lake biogeochemistry and ecosystem processes? Will all lakes react similarly or in a different fashion? These questions and others will be answered in this research project.