Microorganisms, Vol. 8, Pages 1169: Microbiome Diversity and Community-Level Change Points within Manure-Based Small Biogas Plants

Summary: Efforts to integrate biogas plants into bioeconomy concepts will lead to an expansion of manure-based (small) biogas plants, while their operation is challenging due to critical characteristics of some types of livestock manure. For a better process understanding, in this study, three manure-based small biogas plants were investigated with emphasis on microbiome diversity. Due to varying digester types, feedstocks, and process conditions, 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing showed differences in the taxonomic composition. Dynamic variations of each investigated biogas plant microbiome over time were analyzed by terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (TRFLP), whereby nonmetric multidimensional scaling (NMDS) revealed two well-running systems, one of them with a high share of chicken manure, and one unstable system. By using Threshold Indicator Taxa Analysis (TITAN), community-level change points at ammonium and ammonia concentrations of 2.25 g L-1 and 193 mg L-1 or volatile fatty acid concentrations of 0.75 g L-1were reliably identified which are lower than the commonly reported thresholds for critical process stages based on chemical parameters. Although a change in the microbiome structure does not necessarily indicate an upcoming critical process stage, the recorded community-level change points might be a first indication to carefully observe the process.

Source: Microorganisms

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