Microbiota in anaerobic digestion of sewage sludge with and without co-substrates

Andreas Walter, Maraike Probst, Ingrid H. Franke-Whittle, Christian Ebner, Sabine Marie Podmirseg, Mohammad Etemadi-Shalamzari, Sebastian Hupfauf, Heribert Insam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


In this study, seven full-scale anaerobic digesters, with or without co-substrate regime, were analysed by physicochemical and molecular biological methods. A combination of robust community fingerprinting and Illumina MiSeq sequencing revealed a core bacterial community dominated by Chloroflexi, Firmicutes, Bacteroidetes and Proteobacteria, with variations in the profiles because of differences in the co-substrate feeding regime. Despite these differences, physicochemical properties revealed a stable performance of all reactors, indicating a resilient bacterial microbiota in all full-scale reactors. A rich bacterial core community ensured reactor functionality, whilst feeding regime and reactor type impacted the overall and the core bacterial diversity. Within the Archaea, Methanosaeta dominated in all reactors. Results indicated no relationship between archaeal community structure and the type of co-substrate digested. Methanogens rely on the metabolic end products of bacterial activity and are thus less dependent on differences in the initial co-substrate regime.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)214-222
Number of pages9
JournalWater and Environment Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 May 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Bacteria
  • anaerobic digestion
  • biogas
  • biomethane
  • co-substrates
  • methanogens
  • next generation sequencing
  • wastewater

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Pollution
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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