In situ identification of the synthrophic protein fermentative Coprothermobacter spp. involved in the thermophilic anaerobic digestion process



Thermophilic bacteria have recently attracted great attention because of their potential application in improving different biochemical processes such as anaerobic digestion of various substrates, wastewater treatment or hydrogen production. In this study we report on the design of a specific 16S rRNA-targeted oligonucleotide probe for detecting members of Coprothermobacter genus characterized by a strong protease activity to degrade proteins and peptides. The newly designed CTH485 probe and helper probes hCTH429 and hCTH439 were optimized for use in fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) on thermophilic anaerobic sludge samples. In situ probing revealed that thermo-adaptive mechanisms shaping the 16S rRNA gene may affect the identification of thermophilic microorganisms. The novel developed FISH probe extends the possibility to study the widespread thermophilic syntrophic interaction of Coprothermobacter spp. with hydrogenotrophic methanogenic archaea, whose establishment is a great benefit for the whole anaerobic system.