Effect of inoculum source on the enrichment of microbial communities on two lignocellulosic bioenergy crops under thermophilic and high-solids conditions
Culturing compost-derived microbial communities on biofuel feedstocks under industrial conditions is a technique to enrich for organisms and lignocellulolytic enzymes for bioenergy feedstock deconstruction. In this study, microbial communities from green waste compost (GWC) and grape pomace compost (GPC) were cultured on switchgrass and eucalyptus to observe the impact of inoculation on feedstock decomposition and microbial community structure.
Methods and Results
Respiration was monitored as a measure of microbial activity, and 16S ribosomal RNA gene sequencing was used to characterize microbial community structure. The enriched community structure and respiration were influenced by the choice of feedstock, compost type, and application of thermophilic, high-solids conditions. However, the effect of compost source was significantly less than the effects of the other culture variables.
Although there are subtle differences in potentially lignocellulolytic taxa between GPC- and GWC-derived communities, these differences do not affect the decomposition rates for these communities on switchgrass or eucalyptus.
Significance and Impact of the Study
These results are useful for designing future experiments to discover lignocellulolytic micro-organisms from compost. They suggest that such work may be better served by deemphasizing screening of compost sources and instead focusing on how compost-derived communities adapt to the feedstocks and process conditions relevant to biofuel production.