Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 97, Issue 18, pp 8163–8171

Characterization of the methanogen community in a household anaerobic digester fed with swine manure in China

Applied genetics and molecular biotechnology

DOI: 10.1007/s00253-013-4957-z

Cite this article as:
Qin, H., Lang, H. & Yang, H. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol (2013) 97: 8163. doi:10.1007/s00253-013-4957-z


Household anaerobic digesters have been installed across rural China for biogas production, but information on methanogen community structure in these small biogas units is sparsely available. By creating clone libraries for 16S rRNA and methyl coenzyme M reductase alpha subunit (mcrA) genes, we investigated the methanogenic consortia in a household biogas digester treating swine manure. Operational taxonomic units (OTUs) were defined by comparative sequence analysis, seven OTUs were identified in the 16S rRNA gene library, and ten OTUs were identified in the mcrA gene library. Both libraries were dominated by clones highly related to the type strain Methanocorpusculum labreanum Z, 64.0 % for 16S rRNA gene clones and 64.3 % for mcrA gene clones. Additionally, gas chromatography assays showed that formic acid was 84.54 % of the total volatile fatty acids and methane was 57.20 % of the biogas composition. Our results may help further isolation and characterization of methanogenic starter strains for industrial biogas production.


Methanogen community16S rRNA gene librarymcrA gene libraryHousehold anaerobic digester

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Industrial Fermentation Microbiology, Ministry of Education, College of BiotechnologyTianjin University of Science and TechnologyTianjinChina
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of Crop Gene Resources and Germplasm Enhancement on Loess Plateau, Ministry of AgricultureInstitute of Crop Germplasm Resources of Shanxi Academy of Agricultural SciencesTaiyuanChina
  3. 3.Xingtai Institute for Food and Drug ControlXingtaiChina