Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 99, Issue 2, pp 969–980 | Cite as

Comparison of the microbial communities in solid-state anaerobic digestion (SS-AD) reactors operated at mesophilic and thermophilic temperatures

  • Yueh-Fen Li
  • Michael C. Nelson
  • Po-Hsu Chen
  • Joerg Graf
  • Yebo Li
  • Zhongtang Yu
Environmental biotechnology


The microbiomes involved in liquid anaerobic digestion process have been investigated extensively, but the microbiomes underpinning solid-state anaerobic digestion (SS-AD) are poorly understood. In this study, microbiome composition and temporal succession in batch SS-AD reactors, operated at mesophilic or thermophilic temperatures, were investigated using Illumina sequencing of 16S rRNA gene amplicons. A greater microbial richness and evenness were found in the mesophilic than in the thermophilic SS-AD reactors. Firmicutes accounted for 60 and 82 % of the total Bacteria in the mesophilic and in the thermophilic SS-AD reactors, respectively. The genus Methanothermobacter dominated the Archaea in the thermophilic SS-AD reactors, while Methanoculleus predominated in the mesophilic SS-AD reactors. Interestingly, the data suggest syntrophic acetate oxidation coupled with hydrogenotrophic methanogenesis as an important pathway for biogas production during the thermophilic SS-AD. Canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) showed that temperature was the most influential factor in shaping the microbiomes in the SS-AD reactors. Thermotogae showed strong positive correlation with operation temperature, while Fibrobacteres, Lentisphaerae, Spirochaetes, and Tenericutes were positively correlated with daily biogas yield. This study provided new insight into the microbiome that drives SS-AD process, and the findings may help advance understanding of the microbiome in SS-AD reactors and the design and operation of SS-AD systems.


Illumina sequencing 16S rRNA gene Microbiome Solid-state anaerobic digester 



We thank Jill Stiverson and Jian Shi for technical assistance with the DNA preparation. This study was partially supported by an award (DE-FG36-05GO85010) from the Department of Energy (DOE) and an award (2012-10008-20302) from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) of the US Department of Agriculture.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

253_2014_6036_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (33 kb)
Online Resource 1 (XLSX 33 kb)
253_2014_6036_MOESM2_ESM.xlsx (16 kb)
Online Resource 2 (XLSX 15 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yueh-Fen Li
    • 1
  • Michael C. Nelson
    • 4
  • Po-Hsu Chen
    • 2
  • Joerg Graf
    • 4
  • Yebo Li
    • 5
  • Zhongtang Yu
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Environmental Science Graduate ProgramThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA
  2. 2.Department of StatisticsThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA
  3. 3.Department of Animal SciencesThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA
  4. 4.Department of Molecular and Cell BiologyUniversity of ConnecticutStorrsUSA
  5. 5.Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological EngineeringThe Ohio State University/Ohio Agricultural Research and Development CenterWoosterUSA

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