Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 102, Issue 23, pp 10285–10297 | Cite as

The time response of anaerobic digestion microbiome during an organic loading rate shock

  • G. H. R. Braz
  • N. Fernandez-Gonzalez
  • J. M. Lema
  • M. Carballa
Environmental Biotechnology


Knowledge of connections between operational conditions, process stability, and microbial community dynamics is essential to enhance anaerobic digestion (AD) process efficiency and management. In this study, the detailed temporal effects of a sudden glycerol-based organic overloading on the AD microbial community and process imbalance were investigated in two replicate anaerobic digesters by a time-intensive sampling scheme. The microbial community time response to the overloading event was shorter than the shifts of reactor performance parameters. An increase in bacterial community dynamics and in the abundances of several microbial taxa, mainly within the Firmicutes, Tenericutes, and Chloroflexi phyla and Methanoculleus genera, could be detected prior to any shift on the reactor operational parameters. Reactor acidification already started within the first 24 h of the shock and headed the AD process to total inhibition in 72 h alongside with the largest shifts on microbiome, mostly the increase of Anaerosinus sp. and hydrogenotrophic methanogenic Archaea. In sum, this work proved that AD microbial community reacts very quickly to an organic overloading and some shifts occur prior to alterations on the performance parameters. The latter is very interesting as it can be used to improve AD process management protocols.


16S rRNA gene Firmicutes High-throughput sequencing Methanoculleus Microbial community Organic overloading Tenericutes Turnover 



Computational resources were kindly provided and supported by Fundacion Pública Galega Centro Tecnolóxico de Supercomputación de Galicia (CESGA).

Funding information

This research was supported by the Spanish Government (AEI) through CDTI (SmartGreenGas project, 2014-CE224). The authors belong to the Galician Competitive Research Group GRC (ED431C 2017/29) and to the CRETUS Strategic Partnership (AGUP2015/02). All these programs are co-funded by FEDER (UE). GHRB PhD fellowship is supported by CAPES (BEX-2160/2015-03) Foundation, Ministry of Education of Brazil, Brasília – DF 70040-020, Brazil.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical statement

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

Supplementary material

253_2018_9383_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (1.8 mb)
ESM 1 (PDF 1868 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Chemical Engineering, Institute of TechnologyUniversidade de Santiago de CompostelaSantiago de CompostelaSpain

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