Taxonomic composition and gene content of a methane-producing microbial community isolated from a biogas reactor

Lutz Krause, Naryttza N. Diaz, Robert A. Edwards, Karl Heinz Gartemann, Holger Krömeke, Heiko Neuweger, Alfred Pühler, Kai J. Runte, Andreas Schlüter, Jens Stoye, Rafael Szczepanowski, Andreas Tauch, Alexander Goesmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

185 Citations (Scopus)


A total community DNA sample from an agricultural biogas reactor continuously fed with maize silage, green rye, and small proportions of chicken manure has recently been sequenced using massively parallel pyrosequencing. In this study, the sample was computationally characterized without a prior assembly step, providing quantitative insights into the taxonomic composition and gene content of the underlying microbial community. Clostridiales from the phylum Firmicutes is the most prevalent phylogenetic order, Methanomicrobiales are dominant among methanogenic archaea. An analysis of Operational Taxonomic Units (OTUs) revealed that the entire microbial community is only partially covered by the sequenced sample, despite that estimates suggest only a moderate overall diversity of the community. Furthermore, the results strongly indicate that archaea related to the genus Methanoculleus, using CO2 as electron acceptor and H2 as electron donor, are the main producers of methane in the analyzed biogas reactor sample. A phylogenetic analysis of glycosyl hydrolase protein families suggests that Clostridia play an important role in the digestion of polysaccharides and oligosaccharides. Finally, the results unveiled that most of the organisms constituting the sample are still unexplored.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-101
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Biotechnology
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 31 Aug 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Anaerobic food chain
  • Biofuel
  • Biogas reactor
  • Environmental sample
  • Maize silage
  • Metagenome
  • Methane production
  • Pyrosequencing


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