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Temperature-dependent Transformation of Biogas-Producing Microbial Communities Points to the Increased Importance of Hydrogenotrophic Methanogenesis Under Thermophilic Operation

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Temperature-dependent Transformation of Biogas-Producing Microbial Communities Points to the Increased Importance of Hydrogenotrophic Methanogenesis Under Thermophilic Operation

Bernadett Pap et al. Bioresour Technol.

Abstract

Stability of biogas production is highly dependent on the microbial community composition of the bioreactors. This composition is basically determined by the nature of biomass substrate and the physical-chemical parameters of the anaerobic digestion. Operational temperature is a major factor in the determination of the anaerobic degradation process. Next-generation sequencing (NGS)-based metagenomic approach was used to monitor the organization and operation of the microbial community throughout an experiment where mesophilic reactors (37°C) were gradually switched to thermophilic (55°C) operation. Temperature adaptation resulted in a clearly thermophilic community having a generally decreased complexity compared to the mesophilic system. A temporary destabilization of the system was observed, indicating a lag phase in the community development in response to temperature stress. Increased role of hydrogenotrophic methanogens under thermophilic conditions was shown, as well as considerably elevated levels of Fe-hydrogenases and hydrogen producer bacteria were observed in the thermophilic system.

Keywords: Anaerobic digestion; Hydrogenase; Hydrogenotrophic methanogenesis; Metagenomics; Thermophilic microbial community.

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