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Environ Microbiol. 2004 Aug;6(8):809-19.

Diversity of the archaeal community in 44 anaerobic digesters as determined by single strand conformation polymorphism analysis and 16S rDNA sequencing.

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Laboratoire de Biotechnologie de l'Environnement, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, Avenue des Etangs, 11100 Narbonne, France.


The diversity of Archaea in anaerobic digesters was characterized by strand conformation polymorphism (SSCP) analysis and the sequencing of 16S rDNA genes. The 44 digesters sampled, located in eight different countries, treated effluents from agriculture, the food processing and petro-chemical industries, pulp and paper plant, breweries, slaughterhouses and municipal waste. All the existing processes were represented among the samples (fixed-film, fluidized bed, stirred-tank, UASB, sequential batch reactor, lagoon). Single strand conformation polymorphism analysis targeting the V3 region of 16S rDNA revealed between four to six distinct archaeal peaks per digester. The diversity of dominant Archaea in the 44 digesters was estimated as 23 different 16S rDNA sequences. Cloning of archaeal 16S rRNA genes from 11 distinct total genomic DNA, screening of clones by SSCP and the sequencing of 170 of them made it possible to characterize these SSCP peaks. All the sequences retrieved were members of the Euryarchaeaota subdomain. Furthermore, most of the sequences retrieved were very close to already known and cultivated strains or to environmental clones. The most frequent archaeal sequences were close to Methanosaeta concilii and to a 16S rDNA clone vadinDC06 located in the Methanobacterium clade (84% and 73% of digesters respectively). The other sequences were members of the Methanobacteriales and the Methanomicrobiales families. Only one sequence was far from any sequence of the database and it could be grouped with several sequences of environmental clones. Each digester harboured between two to nine archaeal sequences with only one of them corresponding to a putative acetate-utilizing species. Furthermore, the process in the digesters appeared to play a part in the distribution of archaeal diversity.

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