The effect of easily degradable substrate feeding on the community structure of laboratory-scale wastewater sludge digesters

Erika Tóth, Tamás Tauber, Balázs Wirth, Marcell Nikolausz, Márton Palatinszky, Peter Schumann, Károly Márialigeti

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The effect of several easily degradable substrates, such as protein, starch and sunflower oil was investigated on the bacterial community of a laboratory-scale biogas model system. Besides measuring gas yield, Denaturing Gradient Gel Electrophoresis (DGGE), Phospholipids Fatty Acid Analysis (PLFA) for Bacteria and T-RFLP analysis of the mcrA gene for Archaea were used. The community of the examined biogas reactors adapted to the new substrates through a robust physiological reaction followed by moderate community abundance shifts. Gas yield data clearly demonstrated the physiological adaptation to substrate shifts. Statistical analysis of DNA and chemotaxonomic biomarkers revealed community abundance changes. Sequences gained from DGGE bands showed the dominance of the phyla Bacteroidetes and the presence of Firmicutes (Clostridia) and Thermotogae. This was supported by the detection of large amounts of branched 15-carbon non-hydroxy fatty acids in PLFA profiles, as common PLFA markers of the Bacteroidetes group. Minor abundance ratios changes were observed in the case of Archaea in accordance with changes of the fed substrates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)289-301
Number of pages13
JournalActa microbiologica et immunologica Hungarica
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2013



  • DGGE
  • T-RFLP
  • biogas
  • chemotaxonomy
  • substrate feeding

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)

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