Ammonia release from proteinaceous feedstocks represents the main inhibitor of the anaerobic digestion (AD) process, which can result in a decreased biomethane yield or even complete failure of the process. The present study focused on the adaptation of mesophilic AD communities to a stepwise increase in the concentration of ammonium chloride in synthetic medium with casein used as the carbon source. An adaptation process occurring over more than 20 months allowed batch reactors to reach up to 20 g of NH4+ N/L without collapsing in acidification nor ceasing methane production. To decipher the microbial dynamics occurring during the adaptation and determine the genes mostly exposed to selective pressure, a combination of biochemical and metagenomics analyses was performed, reconstructing the strains of key species and tracking them over time. Subsequently, the adaptive metabolic mechanisms were delineated by following the single nucleotide variants (SNVs) characterizing the strains and prioritizing the associated genes according to their function. An in-depth exploration of the archaeon Methanoculleus bourgensis vb3066 and the putative syntrophic acetate-oxidizing bacteria Acetomicrobium sp. ma133 identified positively selected SNVs on genes involved in stress adaptation. The intraspecies diversity with multiple coexisting strains in a temporal succession pattern allows us to detect the presence of an additional level of diversity within the microbial community beyond the species level.

Adaptation of Anaerobic Digestion Microbial Communities to High Ammonium Levels: Insights from Strain-Resolved Metagenomics

Ghiotto, Gabriele;Zampieri, Guido;Raga, Roberto;Favaro, Lorenzo;Treu, Laura
;
Campanaro, Stefano
2023

Abstract

Ammonia release from proteinaceous feedstocks represents the main inhibitor of the anaerobic digestion (AD) process, which can result in a decreased biomethane yield or even complete failure of the process. The present study focused on the adaptation of mesophilic AD communities to a stepwise increase in the concentration of ammonium chloride in synthetic medium with casein used as the carbon source. An adaptation process occurring over more than 20 months allowed batch reactors to reach up to 20 g of NH4+ N/L without collapsing in acidification nor ceasing methane production. To decipher the microbial dynamics occurring during the adaptation and determine the genes mostly exposed to selective pressure, a combination of biochemical and metagenomics analyses was performed, reconstructing the strains of key species and tracking them over time. Subsequently, the adaptive metabolic mechanisms were delineated by following the single nucleotide variants (SNVs) characterizing the strains and prioritizing the associated genes according to their function. An in-depth exploration of the archaeon Methanoculleus bourgensis vb3066 and the putative syntrophic acetate-oxidizing bacteria Acetomicrobium sp. ma133 identified positively selected SNVs on genes involved in stress adaptation. The intraspecies diversity with multiple coexisting strains in a temporal succession pattern allows us to detect the presence of an additional level of diversity within the microbial community beyond the species level.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11577/3505057
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