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Reactor Performance and Microbial Community Dynamics During Solid-State Anaerobic Digestion of Corn Stover at Mesophilic and Thermophilic Conditions

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Reactor Performance and Microbial Community Dynamics During Solid-State Anaerobic Digestion of Corn Stover at Mesophilic and Thermophilic Conditions

Jian Shi et al. Bioresour Technol.

Abstract

Reactor performance and microbial community dynamics were investigated during solid state anaerobic digestion (SS-AD) of corn stover at mesophilic and thermophilic conditions. Thermophilic SS-AD led to faster and greater reductions of cellulose and hemicelluloses during the first 12 days compared to mesophilic SS-AD. However, accumulation of volatile fatty acids (VFAs) was 5-fold higher at thermophilic than mesophilic temperatures, resulting in a large pH drop during days 6-12 in the thermophilic reactors. Culture-based enumeration revealed 10-50 times greater populations of cellulolytic and xylanolytic microbes during thermophilic SS-AD than mesophilic SS-AD. DGGE analysis of PCR amplified 16S rRNA genes showed dynamic shifts, especially during the thermophilic SS-AD, of bacterial and archaeal communities over the 38 days of SS-AD as a result of acclimation of the initial seed microbial consortia to the lignocellulosic feedstock. The findings of this study can guide future studies to improve efficiency and stability of SS-AD.

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