Carbohydrate Hydrolytic Potential and Redundancy of an Anaerobic Digestion Microbiome Exposed to Acidosis, as Uncovered by Metagenomics.

Affiliation

Environmental Research and Innovation Department, Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology, Belvaux, Luxembourg [Email]

Abstract

Increased hydrolysis of easily digestible biomass may lead to acidosis of anaerobic reactors and decreased methane production. Previously, it was shown that the structure of microbial communities changed during acidosis; however, once the conditions are back to optimal, biogas (initially CO2) production quickly restarts. This suggests the retention of the community functional redundancy during the process failure. In this study, with the use of metagenomics and downstream bioinformatics analyses, we characterize the carbohydrate hydrolytic potential of the microbial community, with a special focus on acidosis. To that purpose, carbohydrate-active enzymes were identified, and to further link the community hydrolytic potential with key microbes, bacterial genomes were reconstructed. In addition, we characterized biochemically the specificity and activity of selected enzymes, thus verifying the accuracy of the in silico predictions. The results confirm the retention of the community hydrolytic potential during acidosis and indicate Bacteroidetes to be largely involved in biomass degradation. Bacteroidetes showed higher diversity and genomic content of carbohydrate hydrolytic enzymes that might favor the dominance of this phylum over other bacteria in some anaerobic reactors. The combination of bioinformatic analyses and activity tests enabled us to propose a model of acetylated glucomannan degradation by BacteroidetesIMPORTANCE The enzymatic hydrolysis of lignocellulosic biomass is mainly driven by the action of carbohydrate-active enzymes. By characterizing the gene profiles at the different stages of the anaerobic digestion experiment, we showed that the microbiome retains its hydrolytic functional redundancy even during severe acidosis, despite significant changes in taxonomic composition. By analyzing reconstructed bacterial genomes, we demonstrate that Bacteroidetes hydrolytic gene diversity likely favors the abundance of this phylum in some anaerobic digestion systems. Further, we observe genetic redundancy within the Bacteroidetes group, which accounts for the preserved hydrolytic potential during acidosis. This work also uncovers new polysaccharide utilization loci involved in the deconstruction of various biomasses and proposes the model of acetylated glucomannan degradation by Bacteroidetes Acetylated glucomannan-enriched biomass is a common substrate for many industries, including pulp and paper production. Using naturally evolved cocktails of enzymes for biomass pretreatment could be an interesting alternative to the commonly used chemical pretreatments.

Keywords

Bacteroidetes,biotechnology,enzymes,molecular biology,polysaccharides,recombinant-protein production,

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