Journal Article

Impact of trace element addition on biogas production from food industrial waste – linking process to microbial communities

Xin Mei Feng, Anna Karlsson, Bo H. Svensson and Stefan Bertilsson

in FEMS Microbiology Ecology

Volume 74, issue 1, pages 226-240
Published in print October 2010 |
Published online September 2010 | e-ISSN: 1574-6941 | DOI:

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Laboratory-scale reactors treating food industry waste were used to investigate the effects of additions of cobalt (Co), nickel/molybdenum/boron (Ni/Mo/B) and selenium/tungsten (Se/W) on the biogas process and the associated microbial community. The highest methane production (predicted value: 860 mL g−1 VS) was linked to high Se/W concentrations in combination with a low level of Co. A combination of quantitative real-time PCR of 16S rRNA genes, terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) and clone library sequencing was used for the community analysis. The T-RFLP data show a higher diversity for bacteria than for archaea in all the treatments. The most abundant bacterial population (31–55% of the total T-RFLP fragments' intensity) was most closely related to Actinomyces europaeus (94% homology). Two dominant archaeal populations shared 98–99% sequence homology with Methanosarcina siciliae and Methanoculleus bourgensis, respectively. Only limited influence of the trace metal additions was found on the bacterial community composition, with two bacterial populations responding to the addition of a combination of Ni/Mo/B, while the dominant archaeal populations were influenced by the addition of Ni/Mo/B and/or Se/W. The maintenance of methanogenic activity was largely independent of archaeal community composition, suggesting a high degree of functional redundancy in the methanogens of the biogas reactors.

Keywords: anaerobic digestion; real-time T-RFLP; experimental design; microbial community composition; trace elements

Journal Article.  9057 words.  Illustrated.

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