Dynamic transition of a methanogenic population in response to the concentration of volatile fatty acids in a thermophilic anaerobic digester.
ABSTRACT: In this study, the microbial community succession in a thermophilic methanogenic bioreactor under deteriorative and stable conditions that were induced by acidification and neutralization, respectively, was investigated using PCR-mediated single-strand conformation polymorphism (SSCP) based on the 16S rRNA gene, quantitative PCR, and fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH). The SSCP analysis indicated that the archaeal community structure was closely correlated with the volatile fatty acid (VFA) concentration, while the bacterial population was impacted by pH. The archaeal community consisted mainly of two species of hydrogenotrophic methanogen (i.e., a Methanoculleus sp. and a Methanothermobacter sp.) and one species of aceticlastic methanogen (i.e., a Methanosarcina sp.). The quantitative PCR of the 16S rRNA gene from each methanogen revealed that the Methanoculleus sp. predominated among the methanogens during operation under stable conditions in the absence of VFAs. Accumulation of VFAs induced a dynamic transition of hydrogenotrophic methanogens, and in particular, a drastic change (i.e., an approximately 10,000-fold increase) in the amount of the 16S rRNA gene from the Methanothermobacter sp. The predominance of the one species of hydrogenotrophic methanogen was replaced by that of the other in response to the VFA concentration, suggesting that the dissolved hydrogen concentration played a decisive role in the predominance. The hydrogenotrophic methanogens existed close to bacteria in aggregates, and a transition of the associated bacteria was also observed by FISH analyses. The degradation of acetate accumulated during operation under deteriorative conditions was concomitant with the selective proliferation of the Methanosarcina sp., indicating effective acetate degradation by the aceticlastic methanogen. The simple methanogenic population in the thermophilic anaerobic digester significantly responded to the environmental conditions, especially to the concentration of VFAs.
Project description:Zoige wetland in Tibetan plateau represents a cold environment at high altitude where significant methane emission has been observed. However, it remains unknown how the production and emission of CH4 from Zoige wetland will respond to a warming climate. Here we investigated the temperature sensitivity of methanogen community in a Zoige wetland soil under the laboratory incubation conditions. One soil sample was collected and the temperature sensitivity of the methanogenic activity, the structure of methanogen community and the methanogenic pathways were determined. We found that the response of methanogenesis to temperature could be separated into two phases, a high sensitivity in the low temperature range and a modest sensitivity under mesophilic conditions, respectively. The aceticlastic methanogens Methanosarcinaceae were the main methanogens at low temperatures, while hydrogenotrophic Methanobacteriales, Methanomicrobiales, and Methanocellales were more abundant at higher temperatures. The total abundance of mcrA genes increased with temperature indicating that the growth of methanogens was stimulated. The growth of hydrogenotrophic methanogens, however, was faster than aceticlastic ones resulting in the shift of methanogen community. Determination of carbon isotopic signatures indicated that methanogenic pathway was also shifted from mainly aceticlastic methanogenesis to a mixture of hydrogenotrophic and aceticlastic methanogenesis with the increase of temperature. Collectively, the shift of temperature responses of methanogenesis was in accordance with the changes in methanogen composition and methanogenic pathway in this wetland sample. It appears that the aceticlastic methanogenesis dominating at low temperatures is more sensitive than the hydrogenotrophic one at higher temperatures.
Project description:Background:Biomethanation is a promising solution to upgrade the CH4 content in biogas. This process consists in the injection of H2 into an anaerobic digester, using the capacity of indigenous hydrogenotrophic methanogens for converting the injected H2 and the CO2 generated from the anaerobic digestion process into CH4. However, the injection of H2 could cause process disturbances by impacting the microbial communities of the anaerobic digester. Better understanding on how the indigenous microbial community can adapt to high H2 partial pressures is therefore required. Results:Seven microbial inocula issued from industrial bioprocesses treating different types of waste were exposed to a high H2 partial pressure in semi-continuous reactors. After 12 days of operation, even though both CH4 and volatile fatty acids (VFA) were produced as end products, one of them was the main product. Acetate was the most abundant VFA, representing up to 94% of the total VFA production. VFA accumulation strongly anti-correlated with CH4 production according to the source of inoculum. Three clusters of inocula were distinguished: (1) inocula leading to CH4 production, (2) inocula leading to the production of methane and VFA in a low proportion, and (3) inocula leading to the accumulation of mostly VFA, mainly acetate. Interestingly, VFA accumulation was highly correlated to a low proportion of archaea in the inocula, a higher amount of homoacetogens than hydrogenotrophic methanogens and, the absence or the very low abundance in members from the Methanosarcinales order. The best methanogenic performances were obtained when hydrogenotrophic methanogens and Methanosarcina sp. co-dominated all along the operation. Conclusions:New insights on the microbial community response to high H2 partial pressure are provided in this work. H2 injection in semi-continuous reactors showed a significant impact on microbial communities and their associated metabolic patterns. Hydrogenotrophic methanogens, Methanobacterium sp. or Methanoculleus sp. were highly selected in the reactors, but the presence of co-dominant Methanosarcinales related species were required to produce higher amounts of CH4 than VFA.
Project description:Anaerobic degradation of lignin-derived aromatics is an important metabolism for carbon and nutrient cycles in soil environments. Although there are some studies on degradation of lignin-derived aromatics by nitrate- and sulfate-reducing bacteria, knowledge on their degradation under methanogenic conditions are quite limited. In this study, methanogenic microbial communities were enriched from rice paddy field soil with lignin-derived methoxylated monoaromatics (vanillate and syringate) and their degradation intermediates (protocatechuate, catechol, and gallate) as the sole carbon and energy sources. Archaeal community analysis disclosed that both aceticlastic (Methanosarcina sp.) and hydrogenotrophic (Methanoculleus sp. and Methanocella sp.) methanogens dominated in all of the enrichments. Bacterial community analysis revealed the dominance of acetogenic bacteria (Sporomusa spp.) only in the enrichments on the methoxylated aromatics, suggesting that Sporomusa spp. initially convert vanillate and syringate into protocatechuate and gallate, respectively, with acetogenesis via O-demethylation. As the putative ring-cleavage microbes, bacteria within the phylum Firmicutes were dominantly detected from all of the enrichments, while the dominant phylotypes were not identical between enrichments on vanillate/protocatechuate/catechol (family Peptococcaceae bacteria) and on syringate/gallate (family Ruminococcaceae bacteria). This study demonstrates the importance of cooperation among acetogens, ring-cleaving fermenters/syntrophs and aceticlastic/hydrogenotrophic methanogens for degradation of lignin-derived aromatics under methanogenic conditions.
Project description:Acetate conversion pathways of methanogenic consortia in acetate-fed chemostats at dilution rates of 0.025 and 0.6 day(-1) were investigated by using (13)C-labeled acetates, followed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) analysis of the CH(4) and CO(2) produced. Nonaceticlastic syntrophic oxidation by acetate-oxidizing syntrophs and hydrogenotrophic methanogens was suggested to occupy a primary pathway (approximately 62 to 90%) in total methanogenesis at the low dilution rate. In contrast, aceticlastic cleavage of acetate by aceticlastic methanogens was suggested to occupy a primary pathway (approximately 95 to 99%) in total methanogenesis at the high dilution rate. Phylogenetic analyses of transcripts of the methyl coenzyme M reductase gene (mcrA) confirmed that a significant number of transcripts of the genera Methanoculleus (hydrogenotrophic methanogens) and Methanosarcina (aceticlastic methanogens) were present in the chemostats at the low and high dilution rates, respectively. The mcrA transcripts of the genus Methanosaeta (aceticlastic methanogens), which dominated the population in a previous study (T. Shigematsu, Y. Tang, H. Kawaguchi, K. Ninomiya, J. Kijima, T. Kobayashi, S. Morimura, and K. Kida, J. Biosci. Bioeng. 96:547-558, 2003), were poorly detected at both dilution rates due to the limited coverage of the primers used. These results demonstrated that the dilution rate could cause a shift in the primary pathway of acetate conversion to methane in acetate-fed chemostats.
Project description:Anaerobic digesters are man-made habitats for fermentative and methanogenic microbes, and are characterized by extremely high concentrations of organics. However, little is known about how microbes adapt to such habitats. In the present study, we report phylogenetic, metagenomic, and metatranscriptomic analyses of microbiomes in thermophilic packed-bed digesters fed acetate as the major substrate, and we have shown that acetoclastic and hydrogenotrophic methanogens that utilize acetate as a carbon source dominate there. Deep sequencing and precise binning of the metagenomes reconstructed complete genomes for two dominant methanogens affiliated with the genera Methanosarcina and Methanothermobacter, along with 37 draft genomes. The reconstructed Methanosarcina genome was almost identical to that of a thermophilic acetoclastic methanogen Methanosarcina thermophila TM-1, indicating its cosmopolitan distribution in thermophilic digesters. The reconstructed Methanothermobacter (designated as Met2) was closely related to Methanothermobacter tenebrarum, a non-autotrophic hydrogenotrophic methanogen that grows in the presence of acetate. Met2 lacks the Cdh complex required for CO2 fixation, suggesting that it requires organic molecules, such as acetate, as carbon sources. Although the metagenomic analysis also detected autotrophic methanogens, they were less than 1% in abundance of Met2. These results suggested that non-autotrophic methanogens preferentially grow in anaerobic digesters containing high concentrations of organics.
Project description:In the syntrophic interaction between fermentative bacteria (Pelotomaculum thermopropionicum) and methanogenic archaea (methanogens: Methanothemobacter thermautotrophicus), reducing equivalents (e.g., H2) produced by fermentative bacteria should efficiently be consumed by methanogens in order for the fermentation of volatile fatty acids (VFA, e.g., butyrate, propionate, and acetate) to be thermodynamically feasible. It has been known that physical approximation (e.g., coaggregation) between VFA-fermenting syntrophic bacteria (syntrophs) and hydrogenotrophic methanogens is necessary for efficient H2 transfer between them. Our previous study has shown that, at an early exponential growth phase of syntrophic coculture, cells of Pelotomaculum thermopropionicum (syntroph) were connected to cells of Methanothermobacter thermautotrophicus (methanogen) via unidentified extracellular filamentous appendages, after which they started to coaggregate, suggesting that the filamentous appendages may have been important for their syntrophic interaction. The filamentous appendages seemed to specifically connect these syntrophic partners, since such pairwise connection has been observed neither in single-species cultures (monocultures) nor in mixtures with other microbes. <br> We found that P. thermopropionicum has putative gene clusters for flagellum and pilus, while no extracellular filament gene was identified in the M. thermautotrophicus genome. So we examined transcriptome responses of M. thermautotrophicus to the contact with flagellar filament protein (FliC) and flagellar cap protein (FliD) of P. thermopropionicum.
Project description:Understanding how the presence, absence, and abundance of different microbial genera supply specific metabolic functions for anaerobic digestion (AD) and how these impact on gas production is critical for a long-term understanding and optimization of the AD process. The strictly anaerobic methanogenic archaea are essential for methane production within AD microbial communities. Methanogens are a phylogenetically diverse group that can be classified into three metabolically distinct lineages based on the substrates they use to produce methane. While process optimization based on physicochemical parameters is well established in AD, measurements that could allow manipulation of the underlying microbial community are seldom used as they tend to be non-specific, expensive, or time-consuming, or a combination of all three. Loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) assays combine a simple, rapid, low-cost detection technique with high sensitivity and specificity. Here, we describe the optimization of LAMP assays for the detection of four different genera of hydrogenotrophic methanogens: Methanoculleus, Methanothermobacter, Methanococcus, and Methanobrevibacter spp. By targeting archaeal elongation factor 2 (aEF2), these LAMP assays provide a rapid, low-cost, presence/absence indication of hydrogenotrophic methanogens that could be used as a real-time measure of process conditions. The assays were shown to be sensitive to 1 pg of DNA from most tested methanogen species, providing a route to a quantitative measure through simple serial dilution of samples. The LAMP assays described here offer a simple, fast, and affordable method for the specific detection of four different genera of hydrogenotrophic methanogens. Our results indicate that this approach could be developed into a quantitative measure that could provide rapid, low-cost insight into the functioning and optimization of AD and related systems.
Project description:High salinity frequently causes inhibition and even failure in anaerobic digestion. To explore the impact of increasing NaCl concentrations on biogas production, and reveal the microbial community variations in response to high salinity stress, the Illumina high-throughput sequencing technology was employed. The results showed that a NaCl concentration of 20?g/L (H group) exhibited a similar level of VFAs and specific CO2 production rate with that in the blank group, thus indicating that the bacterial activity in acidogenesis might not be inhibited. However, the methanogenic activity in the H group was significantly affected compared with that in the blank group, causing a 42.2% decrease in CH4 production, a 37.12% reduction in the specific CH4 generation rate and a lower pH value. Illumina sequencing revealed that microbial communities between the blank and H groups were significantly different. Bacteroides, Clostridium and BA021 uncultured were the dominant species in the blank group while some halotolerant genera, such as Thermovirga, Soehngenia and Actinomyces, dominated and complemented the hydrolytic and acidogenetic abilities in the H group. Additionally, the most abundant archaeal species included Methanosaeta, Methanolinea, Methanospirillum and Methanoculleus in both groups, but hydrogenotrophic methanogens showed a lower resistance to high salinity than aceticlastic methanogens.
Project description:Hydrogenotrophic methanogenic archaea are efficient H2 utilizers, but only a few are known to be able to utilize CO. Methanothermobacter thermoautotrophicus is one of the hydrogenotrophic methanogens able to grow on CO, albeit about 100 times slower than on H2 + CO2. In this study, we show that the hydrogenotrophic methanogen Methanothermobacter marburgensis, is able to perform methanogenic growth on H2/CO2/CO and on CO as a sole substrate. To gain further insight in its carboxydotrophic metabolism, the proteome of M. marburgensis, grown on H2/CO2 and H2/CO2/CO, was analyzed. Cultures grown with H2/CO2/CO showed relative higher abundance of enzymes involved in the reductive acetyl-CoA pathway and proteins involved in redox metabolism. The data suggest that the strong reducing capacity of CO negatively affects hydrogenotrophic methanogenesis, making growth on CO as a sole substrate difficult for this type of methanogens. M. marburgensis appears to partly deal with this by up-regulating co-factor regenerating reactions and activating additional pathways allowing for formation of other products, like acetate.
Project description:In this research, the feasibility of, and population dynamics in, one-step anaerobic sequencing batch reactor systems treating the fine sieved fraction (FSF) from raw municipal wastewater was studied under thermophilic (55 °C) and mesophilic (35 °C) conditions. FSF was sequestered from raw municipal wastewater, in the Netherlands, using a rotating belt filter (mesh size 350 micron). FSF is a heterogeneous substrate that mainly consists of fibres originating from toilet paper and thus contains a high cellulosic fraction (60-80 % of total solids content), regarded as an energy-rich material.Results of the 656-day fed-batch operation clearly showed that thermophilic digestion was more stable, applying high organic loading rates (OLR) up to 22 kg COD/(m(3) day). In contrast, the mesophilic digester already failed applying an OLR of 5.5 kg COD/(m(3) day), indicated by a drop in pH and increase in volatile fatty acids (VFAs). The observed viscosity values of the mesophilic sludge were more than tenfold higher than the thermophilic sludge. 454-pyrosequencing of eight mesophilic and eight thermophilic biomass samples revealed that Bacteroides and aceticlastic methanogen Methanosaeta were the dominant genera in the mesophilic digester, whereas OP9 lineages, Clostridium and the hydrogenotrophic methanogen Methanothermobacter dominated the thermophilic one.Our study suggests that applying thermophilic conditions for FSF digestion would result in a higher biogas production rate and/or a smaller required reactor volume, comparing to mesophilic conditions.