Liu T, Li X, Yekta SS, Björn A, Mu BZ, Masuda LSM, Schnürer A, Enrich-Prast A
Sci Rep 12 (1) 16570 [2022-10-04; online 2022-10-04]
Natural environments with frequent drainage experience drying and rewetting events that impose fluctuations in water availability and oxygen exposure. These relatively dramatic cycles profoundly impact microbial activity in the environment and subsequent emissions of methane and carbon dioxide. In this study, we mimicked drying and rewetting events by submitting methanogenic communities from strictly anaerobic environments (anaerobic digestors) with different phylogenetic structures to consecutive desiccation events under aerobic (air) and anaerobic (nitrogen) conditions followed by rewetting. We showed that methane production quickly recovered after each rewetting, and surprisingly, no significant difference was observed between the effects of the aerobic or anaerobic desiccation events. There was a slight change in the microbial community structure and a decrease in methane production rates after consecutive drying and rewetting, which can be attributed to a depletion of the pool of available organic matter or the inhibition of the methanogenic communities. These observations indicate that in comparison to the drying and rewetting events or oxygen exposure, the initial phylogenetic structure and the organic matter quantity and quality exhibited a stronger influence on the methanogenic communities and overall microbial community responses. These results change the current paradigm of the sensitivity of strict anaerobic microorganisms to oxygen exposure.