The challenges of monitoring and manipulating anaerobic microbial communities

Nathan Innard, James P J Chong

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Mixed anaerobic microbial communities are a key component in valorization of waste biomass via anaerobic digestion. Similar microbial communities are important as soil and animal microbiomes and have played a critical role in shaping the planet as it is today. Understanding how individual species within communities interact with others and their environment is important for improving performance and potential applications of an inherently green technology. Here, the challenges associated with making measurements critical to assessing the status of anaerobic microbial communities are considered. How these measurements could be incorporated into control philosophies and augment the potential of anaerobic microbial communities to produce different and higher value products from waste materials are discussed. The benefits and pitfalls of current genetic and molecular approaches to measuring and manipulating anaerobic microbial communities and the challenges which should be addressed to realise the potential of this exciting technology are explored.

Original languageEnglish
Article number126326
Number of pages12
Issue numberPt B
Early online date13 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

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  • Anaerobiosis
  • Animals
  • Biomass
  • Bioreactors
  • Microbiota

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