Characterization of a biogas-producing microbial community by short-read next generation DNA sequencing

Roland Wirth, Etelka Kovács, Gergely Maráti, Zoltán Bagi, G. Rákhely, K. Kovács

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

202 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Renewable energy production is currently a major issue worldwide. Biogas is a promising renewable energy carrier as the technology of its production combines the elimination of organic waste with the formation of a versatile energy carrier, methane. In consequence of the complexity of the microbial communities and metabolic pathways involved the biotechnology of the microbiological process leading to biogas production is poorly understood. Metagenomic approaches are suitable means of addressing related questions. In the present work a novel high-throughput technique was tested for its benefits in resolving the functional and taxonomical complexity of such microbial consortia. Results: It was demonstrated that the extremely parallel SOLiD short-read DNA sequencing platform is capable of providing sufficient useful information to decipher the systematic and functional contexts within a biogas-producing community. Although this technology has not been employed to address such problems previously, the data obtained compare well with those from similar high-throughput approaches such as 454-pyrosequencing GS FLX or Titanium. The predominant microbes contributing to the decomposition of organic matter include members of the Eubacteria, class Clostridia, order Clostridiales, family Clostridiaceae. Bacteria belonging in other systematic groups contribute to the diversity of the microbial consortium. Archaea comprise a remarkably small minority in this community, given their crucial role in biogas production. Among the Archaea, the predominant order is the Methanomicrobiales and the most abundant species is Methanoculleus marisnigri. The Methanomicrobiales are hydrogenotrophic methanogens. Besides corroborating earlier findings on the significance of the contribution of the Clostridia to organic substrate decomposition, the results demonstrate the importance of the metabolism of hydrogen within the biogas producing microbial community. Conclusions: Both microbiological diversity and the regulatory role of the hydrogen metabolism appear to be the driving forces optimizing biogas-producing microbial communities. The findings may allow a rational design of these communities to promote greater efficacy in large-scale practical systems. The composition of an optimal biogas-producing consortium can be determined through the use of this approach, and this systematic methodology allows the design of the optimal microbial community structure for any biogas plant. In this way, metagenomic studies can contribute to significant progress in the efficacy and economic improvement of biogas production.

Original languageEnglish
Article number41
JournalBiotechnology for Biofuels
Volume5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Fingerprint

Biofuels
Biogas
biogas
DNA Sequence Analysis
microbial community
DNA
Methanomicrobiales
Microbial Consortia
Renewable Energy
Metagenomics
Clostridium
Archaea
Metabolism
Microbiological Phenomena
Hydrogen
Methanomicrobiaceae
metabolism
Throughput
hydrogen
decomposition

Keywords

  • Bacteria
  • Biogas
  • DNA
  • Hydrogen metabolism
  • Metagenomics
  • Methanogens
  • Microbial community structure
  • Next-generation sequencing
  • SOLiD

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Energy(all)
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Biotechnology
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

Cite this

Characterization of a biogas-producing microbial community by short-read next generation DNA sequencing. / Wirth, Roland; Kovács, Etelka; Maráti, Gergely; Bagi, Zoltán; Rákhely, G.; Kovács, K.

In: Biotechnology for Biofuels, Vol. 5, 41, 2012.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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