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Methanoculleus spp. as a biomarker of methanogenic activity in swine manure storage tanks

Barret, M., Gagnon, N., Morissette, B., Topp, E., Kalmokoff, M., Brooks, S.P.J., Matias, F., Massé, D.I., Masse, L., Talbot, G. (2012). Methanoculleus spp. as a biomarker of methanogenic activity in swine manure storage tanks, 80(2), 427-440.


Greenhouse gas emissions represent a major problem associated with manure management in the livestock industry. A prerequisite to mitigate methane emissions occurring during manure storage is a clearer understanding of how the microbial consortia involved in methanogenesis function. Here, we have examined manure stored in outdoor tanks from two different farms, at different locations and depths. Physico-chemical and microbiological characterization of these samples indicated differences between each tank, as well as differences within each tank dependent on the depth of sampling. The dynamics of both the bacterial and archaeal communities within these samples were monitored over a 150-day period of anaerobic incubation to identify and track emerging microorganisms, which may be temporally important in the methanogenesis process. Analyses based on DNA fingerprinting of microbial communities identified trends common among all samples as well as trends specific to certain samples. All archaeal communities became enriched with Methanoculleus spp. over time, indicating that the hydrogenotrophic pathway of methanogenesis predominated. Although the emerging species differed in samples obtained from shallow depths compared to deep samples, the temporal enrichment of Methanoculleus suggests that this genus may represent a relevant indicator of methanogenic activity in swine manure storage tanks. © Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada 2012. Reproduced with the permission of the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-food Canada.

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