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Effect of a Profound Feedstock Change on the Structure and Performance of Biogas Microbiomes

Klang, Johanna; Szewzyk, Ulrich; Bock, Daniel; Theuerl, Susanne

In this study the response of biogas-producing microbiomes to a profound feedstock change was investigated. The microbiomes were adapted to the digestion of either 100% sugar beet, maize silage, or of the silages with elevated amounts of total ammonium nitrogen (TAN) by adding ammonium carbonate or animal manure. The feedstock exchange resulted in a short-range decrease or increase in the biogas yields according to the level of chemical feedstock complexity. Fifteen taxa were found in all reactors and can be considered as generalists. Thirteen taxa were detected in the reactors operated with low TAN and six in the reactors with high TAN concentration. Taxa assigned to the phylum Bacteroidetes and to the order Spirochaetales increased with the exchange to sugar beet silage, indicating an affinity to easily degradable compounds. The recorded TAN-sensitive taxa (phylum Cloacimonetes) showed no specific affinity to maize or sugar beet silage. The archaeal community remained unchanged. The reported findings showed a smooth adaptation of the microbial communities, without a profound negative impact on the overall biogas production indicating that the two feedstocks, sugar beet and maize silage, potentially do not contain chemical compounds that are difficult to handle during anaerobic digestion.
Published in: Microorganisms, 10.3390/microorganisms8020169, MDPI