Long-term investigation of microbial community composition and transcription patterns in a biogas plant undergoing ammonia crisis.

Fischer, Martin A., Güllert, Simon, Refai, Sarah, Künzel, Sven, Deppenmeier, Uwe, Streit, Wolfgang R. and Schmitz, Ruth A. (2018) Long-term investigation of microbial community composition and transcription patterns in a biogas plant undergoing ammonia crisis. Open Access Microbial Biotechnology . DOI 10.1111/1751-7915.13313.

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Ammonia caused disturbance of biogas production is one of the most frequent incidents in regular operation of biogas reactors. This study provides a detailed insight into the microbial community of a mesophilic, full‐scale biogas reactor (477 kWh h−1) fed with maize silage, dried poultry manure and cow manure undergoing initial process disturbance by increased ammonia concentration. Over a time period of 587 days, the microbial community of the reactor was regularly monitored on a monthly basis by high‐throughput amplicon sequencing of the archaeal and bacterial 16S rRNA genes. During this sampling period, the total ammonia concentrations varied between 2.7 and 5.8 g l−1 [NH4+–N]. To gain further inside into the active metabolic pathways, for selected time points metatranscriptomic shotgun analysis was performed allowing the quantification of marker genes for methanogenesis, hydrolysis and syntrophic interactions. The results obtained demonstrated a microbial community typical for a mesophilic biogas plant. However in response to the observed changing process conditions (e.g. increasing NH4+ levels, changing feedstock composition), the microbial community reacted highly flexible by changing and adapting the community composition. The Methanosarcina‐dominated archaeal community was shifted to a Methanomicrobiales‐dominated archaeal community in the presence of increased ammonia conditions. A similar trend as in the phylogenetic composition was observed in the transcription activity of genes coding for enzymes involved in acetoclastic methanogenesis and syntrophic acetate oxidations (Codh/Acs and Fthfs). In accordance, Clostridia simultaneously increased under elevated ammonia concentrations in abundance and were identified as the primary syntrophic interaction partner with the now Methanomicrobiales‐dominated archaeal community. In conclusion, overall stable process performance was maintained during increased ammonia concentration in the studied reactor based on the microbial communities’ ability to flexibly respond by reorganizing the community composition while remaining functionally stable.

Document Type: Article
Research affiliation: Kiel University
Kiel University > Kiel Marine Science
OceanRep > The Future Ocean - Cluster of Excellence
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.1111/1751-7915.13313
ISSN: 1751-7915
Projects: Future Ocean
Date Deposited: 30 Jan 2019 11:26
Last Modified: 23 Sep 2019 19:57
URI: http://oceanrep.geomar.de/id/eprint/45568

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