Insight into physico-chemical properties and microbial community structure of biogas slurry from household biogas plants of sub-Himalaya for its implications in improved biogas production

Int Microbiol. 2024 May 18. doi: 10.1007/s10123-024-00530-w. Online ahead of print.


Numerous metagenomics studies, conducted in both full-scale anaerobic digesters and household biogas plants, have shed light on the composition and activity of microbial flora essential for optimizing the performance of biogas reactors, underscoring the significance of microbial community composition in biogas plant efficiency. Although the efficiency of household biogas plants in the sub-Himalayan region has been reported, there is no literature evidence on the microbial community structure of such household biogas plants in the sub-Himalayan region. The current study evaluated the physico-chemical properties and bacterial community structure from the slurry samples of household biogas plants prevalent in the sub-Himalayan region. The slurry samples were observed to be rich in nutrients; however, their carbon and nitrogen contents were higher than the recommended standard values of liquid-fermented organic manure. The species richness and diversity indices (Chao1, Shannon, and Simpson) of household biogas plants were quite similar to the advanced biogas reactors operating at mesophilic conditions. 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing reveals microbial diversity, showing a higher abundance of Firmicutes (70.9%) and Euryarchaeota (9.52%) in advanced biogas reactors compared to household biogas plants. Microbial analysis shows a lack of beneficial microbes for anaerobic digestion, which might be the reason for inefficient biogas production in household biogas plants of the sub-Himalayan region. The lack of efficient bacterial biomass may also be attributed to the digester design, feedstock, and ambient temperatures. This study emphasized the establishment of efficient microbial consortia for enhanced degradation rates that may increase the methane yield in biogas plants.

Keywords: Household biogas plant; Metagenomics; Methane; Microbial community structure; Sub-Himalayan region.