Distribution and abundance of Spirochaetes in full-scale anaerobic digesters

Sang Hoon Lee, Jeong Hoon Park, Hyun Jin Kang, Young Haeng Lee, Taek Jun Lee, Hee Deung Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

93 Citations (Scopus)


To investigate the distribution and abundance of spirochaetal communities within anaerobic digesters, pyrosequencing of the 16S rRNA gene was conducted. Phylogenetic analysis identified a cluster which included the majority of core spirochaetal operational taxonomic units (OTUs) and environmental clones but no pure-culture strains. Distribution of the core OTUs demonstrated an importance of local factors in shaping the structure of Spirochaetes. Spirochaetal to bacterial 16S rRNA gene copy numbers varied from 1.3% to 30.0% depending on digester samples. Environmental variables were found to influence the relative abundance of Spirochaetes. In a batch anaerobic digestion experiment testing the response to different substrates, acetate most stimulated the activity of Spirochaetes, suggesting possible acetate oxidation by syntrophic acetate oxidation process. Taken together, the results obtained in this study provides an insight into the ecology of Spirochaetes in anaerobic digesters and a basis for future studies examining ecological function of these bacteria.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-32
Number of pages8
JournalBioresource technology
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Anaerobic digestion
  • Microbial community
  • Pyrosequencing
  • Spirochaetes
  • Syntrophic acetate oxidation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Waste Management and Disposal


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