Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 102, Issue 8, pp 3819–3830 | Cite as

Enriching ruminal polysaccharide-degrading consortia via co-inoculation with methanogenic sludge and microbial mechanisms of acidification across lignocellulose loading gradients

  • Yuying Deng
  • Zhenxing Huang
  • Wenquan Ruan
  • Hengfeng Miao
  • Wansheng Shi
  • Mingxing Zhao
Environmental biotechnology


Using lignocellulosic materials as substrates, ruminal microbiota were co-inoculated with anaerobic sludge at different loading rates (LR) to study the microbial community in the semi-continuous mode. The results indicated that the highest CH4 yield reached 0.22 L/g volatile solid at LR of 4 g/L/day, which obtained 56–58% of the theoretical value. In the steady stage with LR of 2–4 g/L/day and slurry recirculation, copies of total archaea increased. Especially the Methanobacteriales increased significantly (p < 0.05) to 3.30 × 108 copies/mL. The microbial communities were examined by MiSeq 16S rRNA sequencing. Enriched hydrolytic bacteria mainly belonged to Clostridiales, including Ruminococcus, Ruminiclostridium, and Ruminofilibacter settled in the rumen. High-active cellulase and xylanase were excreted in the co-inoculated system. Acid-producing bacteria by fermentation were affiliated with Lachnospiraceae and Bacteroidales. The acidogen members were mainly Spirochaetaceae and Clostridiales. Syntrophic oxidation bacteria mainly consisted of Synergistetes, propionate oxidizers (Syntrophobacter and Pelotomaculum), and butyrate oxidizers (Syntrophus and Syntrophomonas). There had no volatile fatty acid (VFA) accumulation and the pH values varied between 6.94 and 7.35. At LR of 6 g/L/day and a recirculation ratio of 1:1, the hardly degradable components and total VFA concentrations obviously increased. The total archaea and Methanobacteriales then deceased significantly to 8.56 × 105 copies/mL and 4.14 × 103 copies/mL respectively (p < 0.05), which resulted in the inhibition of methanogenic activities. Subsequently, microbial diversity dropped, and the hydrolytic bacteria and syntrophic oxidizers obviously decreased. In contrast, the abundances of Bacteroidales increased significantly (p < 0.05). Acetate, propionate, and butyrate concentrations reached 2.02, 6.54, and 0.53 g/L, respectively, which indicated “acidification” in the anaerobic reactor. Our study illustrated that co-inoculated anaerobic sludge enriched the ruminal function consortia and hydrogenotrophic methanogens played an important role in anaerobic digestion of lignocelluloses.


Co-inoculated consortia Lignocellulose digestion Anaerobic acidification 



The authors were grateful to the Enzyme Engineering Technology Center of Jiangsu for the help in the experiments of this work

Funding information

This work was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China [grant numbers 21506076, 51678279, and 51508230], National Science and Technological Support of China [grant number 2014BAC25B01], Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities [grant number JUSRP1703XNC], the fund of Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Anaerobic Biotechnology [grant number JKLAB201607], and the funds for green catalysis and applied enzyme team of Changzhou Vocational Institute of Engineering [111308002216006, 201713102015Y].

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

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

Supplementary material

253_2018_8877_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (827 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 827 kb)


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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Changzhou Vocational Institute of EngineeringChangzhouChina
  2. 2.School of Environmental and Civil EngineeringJiangnan UniversityWuxiChina
  3. 3.Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Anaerobic BiotechnologyWuxiChina
  4. 4.Jiangsu Collaborative Innovation Center of Technology and Material of Water TreatmentSuzhouChina

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