Publication Details

Category Text Publication
Reference Category Journals
DOI 10.1128/AEM.00438-17
Title (Primary) Inhibitory effect of coumarin on syntrophic fatty acid-oxidizing and methanogenic cultures and biogas reactor microbiomes
Author Popp, D.; Plugge, C.M.; Kleinsteuber, S. ORCID logo ; Harms, H.; Sträuber, H.
Source Titel Applied and Environmental Microbiology
Year 2017
Department UMB
Volume 83
Issue 13
Page From e00438-17
Language englisch
Keywords 16S rRNA genes; amplicon sequencing; anaerobic digestion; plant secondary metabolites; mcrA genes
UFZ wide themes RU4;

Coumarins are widely found in plants as natural constituents having antimicrobial activity. When considering plants that are rich in coumarins for biogas production, adverse effects on microorganisms driving the anaerobic digestion process are expected. Furthermore, coumarin derivatives, like warfarin, which are used as anticoagulating medicines, are found in wastewater, affecting its treatment. Coumarin, the structure common to all coumarins, inhibits the anaerobic digestion process. However, the details of this inhibition are still elusive. Here, we studied the impact of coumarin on acetogenesis and methanogenesis. First, coumarin was applied at four concentrations between 0.25 and 1 g · liter−1 to pure cultures of the methanogens Methanosarcina barkeri and Methanospirillum hungatei, which resulted in up to 25% less methane production. Acetate production of syntrophic propionate- and butyrate-degrading cultures of Syntrophobacter fumaroxidans and Syntrophomonas wolfei was inhibited by 72% at a coumarin concentration of 1 g · liter−1. Coumarin also inhibited acetogenesis and acetoclastic methanogenesis in a complex biogas reactor microbiome. When a coumarin-adapted microbiome was used, acetogenesis and methanogenesis were not inhibited. According to amplicon sequencing of bacterial 16S rRNA genes and mcrA genes, the communities of the two microbiomes were similar, although Methanoculleus was more abundant and Methanobacterium less abundant in the coumarin-adapted than in the nonadapted microbiome. Our results suggest that well-dosed feeding with coumarin-rich feedstocks to full-scale biogas reactors while keeping the coumarin concentrations below 0.5 g · liter−1 will allow adaptation to coumarins by structural and functional community reorganization and coumarin degradation.

IMPORTANCE Coumarins from natural and anthropogenic sources have an inhibitory impact on the anaerobic digestion process. Here, we studied in detail the adverse effects of the model compound coumarin on acetogenesis and methanogenesis, which are two important steps of the anaerobic digestion process. Coumarin concentrations lower than 0.5 g · liter−1 had only a minor impact. Even though similar inhibitory effects can be assumed for coumarin derivatives, little effects on the anaerobic treatment of wastewater are expected where concentrations of coumarin derivatives are lower than 0.5 g · liter−1. However, when full-scale reactors are fed with coumarin-rich feedstocks, the biogas processes might be inhibited. Hence, these feedstocks should be utilized in a well-dosed manner or after adaptation of the microbial community.

Persistent UFZ Identifier
Popp, D., Plugge, C.M., Kleinsteuber, S., Harms, H., Sträuber, H. (2017):
Inhibitory effect of coumarin on syntrophic fatty acid-oxidizing and methanogenic cultures and biogas reactor microbiomes
Appl. Environ. Microb. 83 (13), e00438-17 10.1128/AEM.00438-17