Methane-producing microbial communities are of ecological and biotechnological interest. Syntrophic interactions among sulfate reducers and aceto/ hydrogenotrophic and obligate hydrogenotrophic methanogens form a key component of these communities, yet, the impact of these different syntrophic routes on methane production and their stability against sulfate availability are not well understood. Here, we construct model synthetic communities using a sulfate reducer and two types of methanogens representing different methanogenesis routes. We find that tri-cultures with both routes increase methane production by almost twofold compared to co-cultures and are stable in the absence of sulfate. With increasing sulfate, system stability and productivity decreases and does so faster in communities with aceto/hydrogenotrophic methanogens despite the continued presence of acetate. We show that this is due to a shift in the metabolism of these methanogens towards co-utilization of hydrogen with acetate. These findings indicate the important role of hydrogen dynamics in the stability and productivity of syntrophic communities.
|Journal||Journal of the Royal Society Interface|
|Publication status||Published - 1 May 2019|