About this Research Topic
During anaerobic degradation energy can be gained via so-called alternative electron acceptors and, if those acceptors are lacking, via fermentation. Microbial degradation and subsequent processing of organic matter under anaerobic conditions is governed by the interdependence of a cascade-like, microbially driven consortium. In anaerobic biotechnology, engineered systems are designed for various applications including energy and (platform) chemical production as well as resource-recycling processes. For this purpose, natural cycles are adjusted to the respective requirements of the engaged microorganisms that perform individual degradation steps in a controlled environment.
Natural systems currently employed for different purposes in biotechnology, including wastewater treatment plants and/or biogas reactors, comprise the microbial communities found in anaerobic sedimentary environments and in the rumen. Although these systems are usually well-functioning, detailed knowledge about the microbially driven processes and their interactions is still scarce and reflects the difficulty of studying the potential of the microorganisms involved. The underlying natural processes, however, harbor significant future potential for discovering new microbial species.
Important progress has been made in understanding the microbial community structures, successions, and interactions, at a molecular level. However, more detailed studies regarding the role of microbial species performing specific anaerobic degradation steps in the mentioned environments are required, to ensure a smooth process flow and a better control over the microbial successions. Furthermore, the identification and cultivation of yet undescribed species and their genetic potentials should be increasingly addressed by the scientific community.
The present Research Topic aims to cover up-to-date investigations on anaerobic microbiota of natural sedimentary habitats, digestive tracts of animals, and the biotechnological applications of these processes in wastewater treatment plants and biogas reactors. Multiple-approach studies (e.g., stable isotope probing, DNA and RNA-based techniques), to explore the diversity and function of anaerobic pure cultures and mixed microbial communities, are welcomed. Specifically, we aim at studies focusing on:
• Characterization of the anaerobic microbial communities from anaerobic sedimentary environments and the digestive tracts of animals, including the physiology, ecology, and/or cultivation of anaerobic microorganisms.
• Investigation of the metabolic interactions within anaerobic communities: investigations on pure or mixed cultures, rumen microbiota, biogas microbiology, and anaerobic sedimentary habitats;
• the potential of anaerobic communities in terrestrial environments, animals’ digestive tract, and biogas plants including community succession, presence and role of anaerobic fungi, and newly discovered anaerobic microorganisms.
• Methodological obstacles to further optimize the investigation of the occurring anaerobic microbial degradation processes.
• Articles describing new approaches or improvements regarding either cultivation or analysis techniques, e.g. the generation of pure cultures is still an extremely challenging and time-consuming process in anaerobic systems and mostly done via agar shakes. This is hampering scientific progress as pure cultures are still required for systematic and physiological characterization.
Submitted manuscripts should be hypothesis-driven. Authors must clearly state how their work contributes to significant conceptual or methodological advances that address the question or problem of interest. Submissions that fail to do so or provide only incremental advancement of knowledge will not be considered for review. Besides, Brief Research Reports, Data Reports, Genome Announcements, Systematic Reviews, and Case Reports will not undergo the review process.
Keywords: anaerobes, microbiota, environment, biotechnology, bioremediation
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