Deterministic processes guide long-term synchronised population dynamics in replicate anaerobic digesters

Vanwonterghem, Inka, Jensen, Paul D., Dennis, Paul G., Hugenholtz, Philip, Rabaey, Korneel and Tyson, Gene W. (2014) Deterministic processes guide long-term synchronised population dynamics in replicate anaerobic digesters. ISME Journal, Advance Online 1-14. doi:10.1038/ismej.2014.50

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Author Vanwonterghem, Inka
Jensen, Paul D.
Dennis, Paul G.
Hugenholtz, Philip
Rabaey, Korneel
Tyson, Gene W.
Title Deterministic processes guide long-term synchronised population dynamics in replicate anaerobic digesters
Journal name ISME Journal   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1751-7362
Publication date 2014-04-17
Year available 2014
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1038/ismej.2014.50
Open Access Status
Volume Advance Online
Start page 1
End page 14
Total pages 14
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher Nature Publishing Group
Collection year 2015
Language eng
Formatted abstract
A replicate long-term experiment was conducted using anaerobic digestion (AD) as a model process to determine the relative role of niche and neutral theory on microbial community assembly, and to link community dynamics to system performance. AD is performed by a complex network of microorganisms and process stability relies entirely on the synergistic interactions between populations belonging to different functional guilds. In this study, three independent replicate anaerobic digesters were seeded with the same diverse inoculum, supplied with a model substrate, α-cellulose, and operated for 362 days at a 10-day hydraulic residence time under mesophilic conditions. Selective pressure imposed by the operational conditions and model substrate caused large reproducible changes in community composition including an overall decrease in richness in the first month of operation, followed by synchronised population dynamics that correlated with changes in reactor performance. This included the synchronised emergence and decline of distinct Ruminococcus phylotypes at day 148, and emergence of a Clostridium and Methanosaeta phylotype at day 178, when performance became stable in all reactors. These data suggest that many dynamic functional niches are predictably filled by phylogenetically coherent populations over long time scales. Neutral theory would predict that a complex community with a high degree of recognised functional redundancy would lead to stochastic changes in populations and community divergence over time. We conclude that deterministic processes may play a larger role in microbial community dynamics than currently appreciated, and under controlled conditions it may be possible to reliably predict community structural and functional changes over time.
Keyword Anaerobic digestion
Neutral theory
Niche specialisation
Synchronised dynamics
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Advance online publication 17 April 2014

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Created: Mon, 05 May 2014, 15:35:18 EST by Mrs Louise Nimwegen on behalf of Advanced Water Management Centre