Identifying anaerobic amino acids degraders through the comparison of short-term and long-term enrichments

Ran Mei, Masaru K. Nobu, Wen Tso Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Degradation of amino acids is an important process in methanogenic environments. Early studies in the 1980s focused on isolated clostridia species to study the degradation behaviours. However, it is now well-recognized that isolated species may not represent those with important roles in situ. This study conducted a continuous enrichment experiment with focus on the comparison of the microbial communities after short-term enrichment (SE) and long-term enrichment (LE). Individual amino acids were used as the substrate, and two different anaerobic digester sludge were used as the inoculum. Based on 16S rRNA and 16S rRNA gene, a clear community shift was observed during a time course of 18 months. The SE communities were dominated by microbial populations such as an uncultured Bacteroidales that was different from known fermenters. In the LE communities, known amino acids fermenters were consistently observed with high abundance, including Peptoclostridium acidaminophilum, Acidaminobacter hydrogenoformans and Propionivibrio pelophilus. The community structures could be classified into four types depending on the diversity of fermenters and syntrophs. A culturability index was developed to compare the SE and LE community and revealed that long-term enrichment tended to select microbial populations closely related to species that has been cultivated whereas larger fractions of the inoculum and SE communities remained uncultured.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)173-184
Number of pages12
JournalEnvironmental Microbiology Reports
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)


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