Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 100, Issue 13, pp 6013–6033 | Cite as

Archaeal and bacterial community dynamics and bioprocess performance of a bench-scale two-stage anaerobic digester

  • Alejandro Gonzalez-MartinezEmail author
  • Maria Jesus Garcia-Ruiz
  • Alejandro Rodriguez-Sanchez
  • Francisco Osorio
  • Jesus Gonzalez-Lopez
Environmental biotechnology


Two-stage technologies have been developed for anaerobic digestion of waste-activated sludge. In this study, the archaeal and bacterial community structure dynamics and bioprocess performance of a bench-scale two-stage anaerobic digester treating urban sewage sludge have been studied by the means of high-throughput sequencing techniques and physicochemical parameters such as pH, dried sludge, volatile dried sludge, acid concentration, alkalinity, and biogas generation. The coupled analyses of archaeal and bacterial communities and physicochemical parameters showed a direct relationship between archaeal and bacterial populations and bioprocess performance during start-up and working operation of a two-stage anaerobic digester. Moreover, results demonstrated that archaeal and bacterial community structure was affected by changes in the acid/alkalinity ratio in the bioprocess. Thus, a predominance of the acetoclastic methanogen Methanosaeta was observed in the methanogenic bioreactor at high-value acid/alkaline ratio, while a predominance of Methanomassilicoccaeceae archaea and Methanoculleus genus was observed in the methanogenic bioreactor at low-value acid/alkaline ratio. Biodiversity tag-iTag sequencing studies showed that methanogenic archaea can be also detected in the acidogenic bioreactor, although its biological activity was decreased after 4 months of operation as supported by physicochemical analyses. Also, studies of the VFA producers and VFA consumers microbial populations showed as these microbiota were directly affected by the physicochemical parameters generated in the bioreactors. We suggest that the results obtained in our study could be useful for future implementations of two-stage anaerobic digestion processes at both bench- and full-scale.


Archaeal dynamics iTag sequencing Two-stage anaerobic digestion Wastewater treatment 



The authors would like to acknowledge the support given by Entidad Regional de Saneamiento y Depuración de Aguas Residuales de la Región de Murcia (ESAMUR) and Empresa Municipal de Aguas y Saneamiento de Murcia, S.A. (EMUASA).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and animal rights

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Supplementary material

253_2016_7393_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (1.5 mb)
ESM 1 (PDF 1539 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alejandro Gonzalez-Martinez
    • 1
    Email author
  • Maria Jesus Garcia-Ruiz
    • 2
  • Alejandro Rodriguez-Sanchez
    • 3
  • Francisco Osorio
    • 2
  • Jesus Gonzalez-Lopez
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Built Environment, School of engineeringAalto UniversityEspooFinland
  2. 2.Department of Civil Engineering, Campus of FuentenuevaUniversity of GranadaGranadaSpain
  3. 3.Institute of Water ResearchUniversity of GranadaGranadaSpain

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