Anaerobic microbial community response to methanogenic inhibitors 2-bromoethanesulfonate and propynoic acid.
ABSTRACT: 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: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:Biologically produced methane (CH?) from anaerobic digesters is a renewable alternative to fossil fuels, but digester failure can be a serious problem. Monitoring the microbial community within the digester could provide valuable information about process stability because this technology is dependent upon the metabolic processes of microorganisms. A healthy methanogenic community is critical for digester function and CH? production. Methanogens can be surveyed and monitored using genes and transcripts of mcrA, which encodes the ? subunit of methyl coenzyme M reductase - the enzyme that catalyses the final step in methanogenesis. Using clone libraries and quantitative polymerase chain reaction, we compared the diversity and abundance of mcrA genes and transcripts in four different methanogenic hydrogen/CO? enrichment cultures to function, as measured by specific methanogenic activity (SMA) assays using H? /CO? . The mcrA gene copy number significantly correlated with CH? production rates using H? /CO? , while correlations between mcrA transcript number and SMA were not significant. The DNA and cDNA clone libraries from all enrichments were distinctive but community diversity also did not correlate with SMA. Although hydrogenotrophic methanogens dominated these enrichments, the results indicate that this methodology should be applicable to monitoring other methanogenic communities in anaerobic digesters. Ultimately, this could lead to the engineering of digester microbial communities to produce more CH? for use as renewable fuel.
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:The composition of the methanogenic archaeal community in the foregut contents of Tammar wallabies (Macropus eugenii) was studied using 16S rRNA and methyl coenzyme reductase subunit A (mcrA) gene clone libraries. Methanogens belonging to the Methanobacteriales and a well-supported cluster of uncultivated archaeon sequences previously observed in the ovine and bovine rumens were found. Methanogen densities ranged from 7.0 x 10(5) and 3.9 x 10(6) cells per gram of wet weight.
Project description:Methanogenic archaea produce methane as a metabolic product under anoxic conditions and they play a crucial role in the global methane cycle. In this study molecular diversity of methanogenic archaea in the hyporheic sediment of the lowland stream Sitka (Olomouc, Czech Republic) was analyzed by PCR amplification, cloning and sequencing analysis of the methyl coenzyme M reductase alpha subunit (mcrA) gene. Sequencing analysis of 60 clones revealed 24 different mcrA phylotypes from hyporheic sedimentary layers to a depth of 50 cm. Phylotypes were affiliated with Methanomicrobiales, Methanosarcinales and Methanobacteriales orders. Only one phylotype remains unclassified. The majority of the phylotypes showed higher affiliation with uncultured methanogens than with known methanogenic species. The presence of relatively rich assemblage of methanogenic archaea confirmed that methanogens may be an important component of hyporheic microbial communities and may affect CH4 cycling in rivers.
Project description:Syngas generated by thermal gasification of biomass or coal can be steam reformed and purified into methane, which could be used locally for energy needs, or re-injected in the natural gas grid. As an alternative to chemical catalysis, the main components of the syngas (CO, CO2, and H2) can be used as substrates by a wide range of microorganisms, to be converted into gas biofuels, including methane. This study evaluates the carboxydotrophic (CO-consuming) methanogenic potential present in an anaerobic sludge from an upflow anaerobic sludge bed (UASB) reactor treating waste water, and elucidates the CO conversion routes to methane at 35 ± 3°C. Kinetic activity tests under CO at partial pressures (pCO) varying from 0.1 to 1.5 atm (0.09-1.31 mmol/L in the liquid phase) showed a significant carboxydotrophic activity potential for growing conditions on CO alone. A maximum methanogenic activity of 1 mmol CH4 per g of volatile suspended solid and per day was achieved at 0.2 atm of CO (0.17 mmol/L), and then the rate decreased with the amount of CO supplied. The intermediary metabolites such as acetate, H2, and propionate started to accumulate at higher CO concentrations. Inhibition experiments with 2-bromoethanesulfonic acid (BES), fluoroacetate, and vancomycin showed that in a mixed culture CO was converted mainly to acetate by acetogenic bacteria, which was further transformed to methane by acetoclastic methanogens, while direct methanogenic CO conversion was negligible. Methanogenesis was totally blocked at high pCO in the bottles (?1 atm). However it was possible to achieve higher methanogenic potential under a 100% CO atmosphere after acclimation of the sludge to CO. This adaptation to high CO concentrations led to a shift in the archaeal population, then dominated by hydrogen-utilizing methanogens, which were able to take over acetoclastic methanogens, while syntrophic acetate oxidizing (SAO) bacteria oxidized acetate into CO2 and H2. The disaggregation of the granular sludge showed a negative impact on their methanogenic activity, confirming that the acetoclastic methanogens were the most sensitive to CO, and a contrario, the advantage of using granular sludge for further development toward large-scale methane production from CO-rich syngas.
Project description:Methane production by intestinal methanogenic Archaea and their community structure were compared among phylogenetic lineages of millipedes. Tropical and temperate millipedes of 35 species and 17 families were investigated. Species that emitted methane were mostly in the juliform orders Julida, Spirobolida, and Spirostreptida. The irregular phylogenetic distribution of methane production correlated with the presence of the methanogen-specific mcrA gene. The study brings the first detailed survey of methanogens' diversity in the digestive tract of millipedes. Sequences related to Methanosarcinales, Methanobacteriales, Methanomicrobiales and some unclassified Archaea were detected using molecular profiling (DGGE). The differences in substrate preferences of the main lineages of methanogenic Archaea found in different millipede orders indicate that the composition of methanogen communities may reflect the differences in available substrates for methanogenesis or the presence of symbiotic protozoa in the digestive tract. We conclude that differences in methane production in the millipede gut reflect differences in the activity and proliferation of intestinal methanogens rather than an absolute inability of some millipede taxa to host methanogens. This inference was supported by the general presence of methanogenic activity in millipede faecal pellets and the presence of the 16S rRNA gene of methanogens in all tested taxa in the two main groups of millipedes, the Helminthophora and the Pentazonia.
Project description:Methane production in thawing permafrost can be substantial, yet often evolves after long lag phases or is even lacking. A central question is to which extent the production of methane after permafrost thaw is determined by the initial methanogenic community. We quantified the production of methane relative to carbon dioxide (CO2) and enumerated methanogenic (mcrA) gene copies in long-term (2-7 years) anoxic incubations at 4 °C using interglacial and glacial permafrost samples of Holocene and Pleistocene, including Eemian, origin. Changes in archaeal community composition were determined by sequencing of the archaeal 16S rRNA gene. Long-term thaw stimulated methanogenesis where methanogens initially dominated the archaeal community. Deposits of interstadial and interglacial (Eemian) origin, formed under higher temperatures and precipitation, displayed the greatest response to thaw. At the end of the incubations, a substantial shift in methanogenic community composition and a relative increase in hydrogenotrophic methanogens had occurred except for Eemian deposits in which a high abundance of potential acetoclastic methanogens were present. This study shows that only anaerobic CO2 production but not methane production correlates significantly with carbon and nitrogen content and that the methanogenic response to permafrost thaw is mainly constrained by the paleoenvironmental conditions during soil formation.
Project description:Liquid dairy manure treated with sulfuric acid was stored in duplicate pilot-scale storage tanks for 120 days with continuous monitoring of CH4 emissions and concurrent examination of changes in the structure of bacterial and methanogenic communities. Methane emissions were monitored at the site using laser-based Trace Gas Analyzer whereas quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction and massively parallel sequencing were employed to study bacterial and methanogenic communities using 16S rRNA and methyl-coenzyme M Reductase A (mcrA) genes/transcripts, respectively. When compared with untreated slurries, acidification resulted in 69-84% reductions of cumulative CH4 emissions. The abundance, activity, and proportion of bacterial communities did not vary with manure acidification. However, the abundance and activity of methanogens (as estimated from mcrA gene and transcript copies, respectively) in acidified slurries were reduced by 6 and 20%, respectively. Up to 21% reduction in mcrA transcript/gene ratios were also detected in acidified slurries. Regardless of treatment, Methanocorpusculum predominated archaeal 16S rRNA and mcrA gene and transcript libraries. The proportion of Methanosarcina, which is the most metabolically-diverse methanogen, was the significant discriminant feature between acidified and untreated slurries. In acidified slurries, the relative proportions of Methanosarcina were ? 10%, whereas in untreated slurries, it represented up to 24 and 53% of the mcrA gene and transcript libraries, respectively. The low proportions of Methanosarcina in acidified slurries coincided with the reductions in CH4 emissions. The results suggest that reduction of CH4 missions achieved by acidification was due to an inhibition of the growth and activity of Methanosarcina species.
Project description:Biomethanation is a promising solution to convert H2 (produced from surplus electricity) and CO2 to CH4 by using hydrogenotrophic methanogens. In ex situ biomethanation with mixed cultures, homoacetogens and methanogens compete for H2/CO2. We enriched a hydrogenotrophic microbiota on CO2 and H2 as sole carbon and energy sources, respectively, to investigate these competing reactions. The microbial community structure and dynamics of bacteria and methanogenic archaea were evaluated through 16S rRNA and mcrA gene amplicon sequencing, respectively. Hydrogenotrophic methanogens and homoacetogens were enriched, as acetate was concomitantly produced alongside CH4. By controlling the media composition, especially changing the reducing agent, the formation of acetate was lowered and grid quality CH4 (?97%) was obtained. Formate was identified as an intermediate that was produced and consumed during the bioprocess. Stirring intensities ? 1000 rpm were detrimental, probably due to shear force stress. The predominating methanogens belonged to the genera Methanobacterium and Methanoculleus. The bacterial community was dominated by Lutispora. The methanogenic community was stable, whereas the bacterial community was more dynamic. Our results suggest that hydrogenotrophic communities can be steered towards the selective production of CH4 from H2/CO2 by adapting the media composition, the reducing agent and the stirring intensity.