Use of a hierarchical oligonucleotide primer extension approach for multiplexed relative abundance analysis of methanogens in anaerobic digestion systems.
ABSTRACT: In this study, we established a rapid multiplex method to detect the relative abundances of amplified 16S rRNA genes from known cultivatable methanogens at hierarchical specificities in anaerobic digestion systems treating industrial wastewater and sewage sludge. The method was based on the hierarchical oligonucleotide primer extension (HOPE) technique and combined with a set of 27 primers designed to target the total archaeal populations and methanogens from 22 genera within 4 taxonomic orders. After optimization for their specificities and detection sensitivity under the conditions of multiple single-nucleotide primer extension reactions, the HOPE approach was applied to analyze the methanogens in 19 consortium samples from 7 anaerobic treatment systems (i.e., 513 reactions). Among the samples, the methanogen populations detected with order-level primers accounted for >77.2% of the PCR-amplified 16S rRNA genes detected using an Archaea-specific primer. The archaeal communities typically consisted of 2 to 7 known methanogen genera within the Methanobacteriales, Methanomicrobiales, and Methanosarcinales and displayed population dynamic and spatial distributions in anaerobic reactor operations. Principal component analysis of the HOPE data further showed that the methanogen communities could be clustered into 3 distinctive groups, in accordance with the distribution of the Methanosaeta, Methanolinea, and Methanomethylovorans, respectively. This finding suggested that in addition to acetotrophic and hydrogenotrophic methanogens, the methylotrophic methanogens might play a key role in the anaerobic treatment of industrial wastewater. Overall, the results demonstrated that the HOPE approach is a specific, rapid, and multiplexing platform to determine the relative abundances of targeted methanogens in PCR-amplified 16S rRNA gene products.
Project description:Methanogenic archaea play a key role in biogas-producing anaerobic digestion and yet remain poorly taxonomically characterized. This is in part due to the limitations of low-throughput Sanger sequencing of a single (16S rRNA) gene, which in the past may have undersampled methanogen diversity. In this study, archaeal communities from three sludge digesters in Hong Kong and one wastewater digester in China were examined using high-throughput pyrosequencing of the methyl coenzyme M reductase (mcrA) and 16S rRNA genes. Methanobacteriales, Methanomicrobiales, and Methanosarcinales were detected in each digester, indicating that both hydrogenotrophic and acetoclastic methanogenesis was occurring. Two sludge digesters had similar community structures, likely due to their similar design and feedstock. Taxonomic classification of the mcrA genes suggested that these digesters were dominated by acetoclastic methanogens, particularly Methanosarcinales, while the other digesters were dominated by hydrogenotrophic Methanomicrobiales. The proposed euryarchaeotal order Methanomassiliicoccales and the uncultured WSA2 group were detected with the 16S rRNA gene, and potential mcrA genes for these groups were identified. 16S rRNA gene sequencing also recovered several crenarchaeotal groups potentially involved in the initial anaerobic digestion processes. Overall, the two genes produced different taxonomic profiles for the digesters, while greater methanogen richness was detected using the mcrA gene, supporting the use of this functional gene as a complement to the 16S rRNA gene to better assess methanogen diversity. A significant positive correlation was detected between methane production and the abundance of mcrA transcripts in digesters treating sludge and wastewater samples, supporting the mcrA gene as a biomarker for methane yield.
Project description:Methanogenic inhibitors are often used to study methanogenesis in complex microbial communities or inhibit methanogens in the gastrointestinal tract of livestock. However, the resulting structural and functional changes in archaeal and bacterial communities are poorly understood. We characterized microbial community structure and activity in mesocosms seeded with cow dung and municipal wastewater treatment plant anaerobic digester sludge after exposure to two methanogenic inhibitors, 2-bromoethanesulfonate (BES) and propynoic acid (PA). Methane production was reduced by 89% (0.5 mmol/L BES), 100% (10 mmol/LBES), 24% (0.1 mmol/LPA), and 95% (10 mmol/LPA). Using modified primers targeting the methyl-coenzyme M reductase (mcrA) gene, changes in mcrA gene expression were found to correspond with changes in methane production and the relative activity of methanogens. Methanogenic activity was determined by the relative abundance of methanogen 16S rRNA cDNA as a percentage of the total community 16S rRNA cDNA. Overall, methanogenic activity was lower when mesocosms were exposed to higher concentrations of both inhibitors, and aceticlastic methanogens were inhibited to a greater extent than hydrogenotrophic methanogens. Syntrophic bacterial activity, measured by 16S rRNA cDNA, was also reduced following exposure to both inhibitors, but the overall structure of the active bacterial community was not significantly affected.
Project description: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:Methanogens play a critical role in the decomposition of organics under anaerobic conditions. The methanogenic consortia in saturated wetland soils are often subjected to large temperature fluctuations and acidic conditions, imposing a selective pressure for psychro- and acidotolerant community members; however, methanogenic communities in engineered digesters are frequently maintained within a narrow range of mesophilic and circumneutral conditions to retain system stability. To investigate the hypothesis that these two disparate environments have distinct methanogenic communities, the methanogens in an oligotrophic acidic fen and a mesophilic anaerobic digester treating municipal wastewater sludge were characterized by creating clone libraries for the 16S rRNA and methyl coenzyme M reductase alpha subunit (mcrA) genes. A quantitative framework was developed to assess the differences between these two communities by calculating the average sequence similarity for 16S rRNA genes and mcrA within a genus and family using sequences of isolated and characterized methanogens within the approved methanogen taxonomy. The average sequence similarities for 16S rRNA genes within a genus and family were 96.0 and 93.5%, respectively, and the average sequence similarities for mcrA within a genus and family were 88.9 and 79%, respectively. The clone libraries of the bog and digester environments showed no overlap at the species level and almost no overlap at the family level. Both libraries were dominated by clones related to uncultured methanogen groups within the Methanomicrobiales, although members of the Methanosarcinales and Methanobacteriales were also found in both libraries. Diversity indices for the 16S rRNA gene library of the bog and both mcrA libraries were similar, but these indices indicated much lower diversity in the 16S digester library than in the other three libraries.
Project description:Agricultural activities have produced well-documented changes in the Florida Everglades, including establishment of a gradient in phosphorus concentrations in Water Conservation Area 2A (WCA-2A) of the northern Everglades. An effect of increased phosphorus concentrations is increased methanogenesis in the eutrophic regions compared to the oligotrophic regions of WCA-2A. The goal of this study was to identify relationships between eutrophication and composition and activity of methanogenic assemblages in WCA-2A soils. Distributions of two genes associated with methanogens were characterized in soils taken from WCA-2A: the archaeal 16S rRNA gene and the methyl coenzyme M reductase gene. The richness of methanogen phylotypes was greater in eutrophic than in oligotrophic sites, and sequences related to previously cultivated and uncultivated methanogens were found. A preferential selection for the order Methanomicrobiales was observed in mcrA clone libraries, suggesting primer bias for this group. A greater diversity within the Methanomicrobiales was observed in mcrA clone libraries than in 16S rRNA gene libraries. 16S rRNA phylogenetic analyses revealed a dominance of clones related to Methanosaeta spp., an acetoclastic methanogen dominant in environments with low acetate concentrations. A significant number of clones were related to Methanomicrobiales, an order characterized by species utilizing hydrogen and formate as methanogenic substrates. No representatives of the orders Methanobacteriales and Methanococcales were found in any 16S rRNA clone library, although some Methanobacteriales were found in mcrA libraries. Hydrogenotrophs are the dominant methanogens in WCA-2A, and acetoclastic methanogen genotypes that proliferate in low acetate concentrations outnumber those that typically dominate in higher acetate concentrations.
Project description:High roughage diet causes more methane emissions; however, the total methanogen abundance is not influenced by roughage proportion. Technologies to reduce methane emissions are lacking, and development of inhibitors and vaccines that mitigate rumen-derived methane by targeting methanogens relies on present knowledge of the methanogens. In this work, we have investigated molecular diversity of rumen methanogens of Surti buffalo. DNA from rumen fluid was extracted, and 16S rRNA encoding genes were amplified using methanogen specific primer to generate 16S rDNA clone libraries. Seventy-six clones were randomly selected and analysed by RFLP resulting in 21 operational taxonomic units (OTUs). BLAST analysis with available sequences in database revealed sequences of 13 OTUs (55 clones) showing similarity with Methanomicrobium sp, 3 OTUs (15 clones) with Methanobrevibacter sp. The remaining 5 OTUs (6 clones) belonged to uncultured archaea. The phylogenetic analysis indicated that methanogenic communities found in the library were clustered in the order of Methanomicrobiales (18 OTUs) and Methanobacteriales (3 OTUs). The population of Methanomicrobiales, Methanobacteriales, and Methanococcales were also observed, accounting for 1.94%, 0.72%, and 0.47% of total archaea, respectively.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Interest in methanogens from ruminants has resulted from the role of methane in global warming and from the fact that cattle typically lose 6 % of ingested energy as methane. Several species of methanogens have been isolated from ruminants. However they are difficult to culture, few have been consistently found in high numbers, and it is likely that major species of rumen methanogens are yet to be identified. RESULTS:Total DNA from clarified bovine rumen fluid was amplified using primers specific for Archaeal 16S rRNA gene sequences (rDNA). Phylogenetic analysis of 41 rDNA sequences identified three clusters of methanogens. The largest cluster contained two distinct subclusters with rDNA sequences similar to Methanobrevibacter ruminantium 16S rDNA. A second cluster contained sequences related to 16S rDNA from Methanosphaera stadtmanae, an organism not previously described in the rumen. The third cluster contained rDNA sequences that may form a novel group of rumen methanogens. CONCLUSIONS:The current set of 16S rRNA hybridization probes targeting methanogenic Archaea does not cover the phylogenetic diversity present in the rumen and possibly other gastro-intestinal tract environments. New probes and quantitative PCR assays are needed to determine the distribution of the newly identified methanogen clusters in rumen microbial communities.
Project description:Comparative analysis of methanogen compositions in the feces of horse and pony was carried out by constructing the α -subunit of methyl coenzyme-M reductase (mcrA) gene and 16S ribosomal RNA gene (16S rRNA) clone libraries. The mcrA clone library analysis indicated that Methanomicrobiales was predominant in both horse and pony. Furthermore, most of the clones of the 16S rRNA gene library showed that Methanomicrobiales was also predominant in horse and pony, but the LIBSHUFF analysis showed that the horse and pony libraries were significantly different (P < 0.05). Most of operational taxonomic units (OTUs) showed low similarity to the identified methanogens in both the mcrA and the 16S rRNA clone libraries. The results suggest that horse and pony harbor unidentified and novel methanogens in their hindgut. The methanogen population was higher in horse than in pony; however, the anaerobic fungal population was similar in horse and pony. The methanogen diversity was different between two breeds of Equus caballus.
Project description:Among methanogens, only 2 genera, Methanosaeta and Methanosarcina, are known to contribute to methanogenesis from acetate, and Methanosaeta is a specialist that uses acetate specifically. However, Methanosaeta strains so far have mainly been isolated from anaerobic digesters, despite the fact that it is widespread, not only in anaerobic methanogenic reactors and freshwater environments, but also in marine environments, based upon extensive 16S rRNA gene-cloning analyses. In this study, we isolated an aceticlastic methanogen, designated strain 03d30q(T), from a tidal flat sediment. Phylogenetic analyses based on 16S rRNA and mcrA genes revealed that the isolate belongs to the genus Methanosaeta. Unlike the other known Methanosaeta species, this isolate grows at Na(+) concentrations of 0.20 to 0.80 M, with an optimum concentration of 0.28 M. Quantitative estimation using real-time PCR detected the 16S rRNA gene of the genus Methanosaeta in the marine sediment, and relative abundance ranged from 3.9% to 11.8% of the total archaeal 16S rRNA genes. In addition, the number of Methanosaeta organisms increased with increasing depth and was much higher than that of Methanosarcina organisms, suggesting that aceticlastic methanogens contribute to acetate metabolism to a greater extent than previously thought in marine environments, where sulfate-reducing acetate oxidation prevails. This is the first report on marine Methanosaeta species, and based on phylogenetic and characteristic studies, the name "Methanosaeta pelagica" sp. nov. is proposed for this novel species, with type strain 03d30q.
Project description:A method, termed hierarchical oligonucleotide primer extension (HOPE), is developed for quantitative, multiplexing detection of DNA targets present in PCR-amplified community 16S rRNA genes. It involves strand extension reaction and multiple oligonucleotide primers modified with different lengths of polyA at the 5' end and targeting 16S rRNA genes at different phylogenetic specificities. On annealing to the targets, these primers are extended with a single fluorescently labeled dideoxynucleoside triphosphate or a dye-terminator. Using a DNA autosequencer, these extended primers are separated and identified by size and dye color, and quantified and normalized based on the fluorescence intensities and internal size standards. Using a primer-to-target ratio >1000, constant primer extension efficiencies can be obtained with individual primers to establish a 'calibration factor' between individual primers and a universal or domain-specific primer, providing the relative abundance of targeted rRNA genes with respect to total rRNA genes. HOPE up to 10-plexing is demonstrated to correctly identify 20 different bacterial strains, and quantify different Bacteroides spp. in 16S rRNA gene amplicons from different model bacteria mixtures and the influent and effluent of a wastewater treatment plant. Single mismatch discrimination with detection sensitivity of a target down to 0.01-0.05% of total DNA template is achieved.