Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, Vol.102, No.2, 1035-1043, 2018
Enrichment of lignocellulose-degrading microbial communities from natural and engineered methanogenic environments
The aim of this study was to develop an effective bioaugmentation concept for anaerobic digesters treating lignocellulosic biomass such as straw. For that purpose, lignocellulose-degrading methanogenic communities were enriched on wheat straw from cow and goat rumen fluid as well as from a biogas reactor acclimated to lignocellulosic biomass (sorghum as mono-substrate). The bacterial communities of the enriched cultures and the different inocula were examined by 454 amplicon sequencing of 16S rRNA genes while the methanogenic archaeal communities were analyzed by terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) fingerprinting of the mcrA gene. Bacteroidetes was the most abundant phylum in all samples. Within the Bacteroidetes phylum, Bacteroidaceae was the most abundant family in the rumen-derived enrichment cultures, whereas Porphyromonadaceae was the predominant one in the reactor-derived culture. Additionally, the enrichment procedure increased the relative abundance of Ruminococcaceae (phylum: Firmicutes) in all cultures. T-RFLP profiles of the mcrA gene amplicons highlighted that the ruminal methanogenic communities were composed of hydrogenotrophic methanogens dominated by the order Methanobacteriales regardless of the host species. The methanogenic communities changed significantly during the enrichment procedure, but still the strict hydrogenotrophic Methanobacteriales and Methanomicrobiales were the predominant orders in the enrichment cultures. The bioaugmentation potential of the enriched methanogenic cultures will be evaluated in further studies.