Different inocula produce distinctive microbial consortia with similar lignocellulose degradation capacity

Cortes-Tolalpa, L., Jiménez, D. J., de Lima Brossi, M. J., Salles, J. F. & van Elsas, J. D., Sep-2016, In : Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology. 100, 17, p. 7713-7725 13 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Despite multiple research efforts, the current strategies for exploitation of lignocellulosic plant matter are still far from optimal, being hampered mostly by the difficulty of degrading the recalcitrant parts. An interesting approach is to use lignocellulose-degrading microbial communities by using different environmental sources of microbial inocula. However, it remains unclear whether the inoculum source matters for the degradation process. Here, we addressed this question by verifying the lignocellulose degradation potential of wheat (Triticum aestivum) straw by microbial consortia generated from three different microbial inoculum sources, i.e., forest soil, canal sediment and decaying wood. We selected these consortia through ten sequential-batch enrichments by dilution-to-stimulation using wheat straw as the sole carbon source. We monitored the changes in microbial composition and abundance, as well as their associated degradation capacity and enzymatic activities. Overall, the microbial consortia developed well on the substrate, with progressively-decreasing net average generation times. Each final consortium encompassed bacterial/fungal communities that were distinct in composition but functionally similar, as they all revealed high substrate degradation activities. However, we did find significant differences in the metabolic diversities per consortium: in wood-derived consortia cellobiohydrolases prevailed, in soil-derived ones beta-glucosidases, and in sediment-derived ones several activities. Isolates recovered from the consortia showed considerable metabolic diversities across the consortia. This confirmed that, although the overall lignocellulose degradation was similar, each consortium had a unique enzyme activity pattern. Clearly, inoculum source was the key determinant of the composition of the final microbial degrader consortia, yet with varying enzyme activities. Hence, in accord with Beyerinck's, "everything is everywhere, the environment selects" the source determines consortium composition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7713-7725
Number of pages13
JournalApplied Microbiology and Biotechnology
Issue number17
Early online date12-May-2016
Publication statusPublished - Sep-2016


  • Lignocellulose, Degrader communities, Bacterial-fungal consortia, (Hemi) cellulolytic activity, Recalcitrant substrate, COMMUNITY, METAGENOMICS, FUNGAL

View graph of relations

Download statistics

No data available

ID: 32477910