A systematic approach re-analyzing the effects of temperature disturbance on the microbial community of mesophilic anaerobic digestion.


Biodiversity Research Center, Academia Sinica, Taipei, 115, Taiwan. [Email]


Microbial communities are key drivers of ecosystem processes, but their behavior in disturbed environments is difficult to measure. How microbial community composition and function respond disturbances is a common challenge in biomedical, environmental, agricultural, and bioenergy research. A novel way to solve this problem is to use a systems-level perspective and describe microbial communities as networks. Based on a mesophilic anaerobic digestion system of swine manure as a tool, we propose a simple framework to investigate changes in microbial communities via compositions, metabolic pathways, genomic properties and interspecies relationships in response to a long-term temperature disturbance. After temperature disturbance, microbial communities tend towards a competitive interaction network with higher GC content and larger genome size. Based on microbial interaction networks, communities responded to the disturbance by showing a transition from acetotrophic (Methanotrichaceae and Methanosarcinaceae) to methylotrophic methanogens (Methanomassiliicoccaceae and Methanobacteriaceae) and a fluctuation in rare biosphere taxa. To conclude, this study may be important for exploring the dynamic relationships between disturbance and microbial communities as a whole, as well as for providing researchers with a better understanding of how changes in microbial communities relate to ecological processes.

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