, Volume 97, Issue 18, pp 8163-8171
Date: 07 May 2013

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

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Abstract

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.