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Microbial life strategy with high rRNA operon copy number facilitates the energy and nutrient flux in anaerobic digestion

  • Lin, Qiang
  • De Vrieze, Jo
  • Fang, Xiaoyu
  • Li, Lingjuan
  • Li, Xiangzhen
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2022
Ghent University Institutional Archive
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Microbial life strategy, reflected by rRNA operon (rrn) copy number, determines microbial ecological roles. However, the relationship between microbial life strategy and the energy and nutrient flux in anaerobic digestion (AD) remains elusive. This study investigated microbial rrn copy number and expression ratio using amplicon sequencing of 16S rRNA gene and 16S rRNA, and monitored CH4 daily production to approximate the status of energy and nutrient flux in semi-continuous AD. A significantly positive correlation between the mean rrn copy number of microbial communities in digestate and CH4 daily production was detected in the control treatment fed swine manure. The reduced feedstock complexity, by replacing parts of swine manure with fructose or apple waste, weakened the correlation. When feedstock complexity was increased again, the correlation was strengthened again. Similar results were detected in mean rrn expression ratio of microbial communities. The responses of mean rrn copy number and expression ratio of communities to feedstock addition differed between the reduced feedstock complexity and the control treatment, as well as between in digestate and in straw. Our findings reveal a novel relationship between microbial community life strategy and the energy and nutrient flux, and the roles of feedstock characteristics therein in AD.

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