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, 99 (18), 7791-803

Community Shifts in a Well-Operating Agricultural Biogas Plant: How Process Variations Are Handled by the Microbiome

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Community Shifts in a Well-Operating Agricultural Biogas Plant: How Process Variations Are Handled by the Microbiome

Susanne Theuerl et al. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol.

Abstract

This study provides a comprehensive, long-term microbiological study of a continuously operated, mesophilic, agricultural biogas plant fed with whole-crop silages of maize and rye, cattle manure and cattle slurry. The microbial community structure was accessed by high-throughput 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing. For the characterisation of the microbial dynamics, the community profiling method terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (TRFLP) in combination with a cloning-sequencing approach as well as a LC-MS/MS approach for protein identification were applied. Our results revealed that the anaerobic digestion is a highly sensitive process: small variations in the process performance induce fluctuations in the microbial community composition and activity. In this context, it could be proven that certain microbial species were better adapted to changing process condition such as temperature (interspecies competition) and that there is a physiological compensation between different microorganisms so that the reactor efficiency was not adversely affected despite of structural and functional changes within the microbial community.

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