Pre-incubation conditions determine the fermentation pattern and microbial community structure in fermenters at mild hydrostatic pressure

Pamela Ceron-Chafla*, Cristina García-Timermans, Jo de Vrieze, Ramon Ganigué, Nico Boon, Korneel Rabaey, Jules B. van Lier, Ralph E.F. Lindeboom

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Fermentation at elevated hydrostatic pressure is a novel strategy targeting product selectivity. However, the role of inoculum history and cross-resistance, that is, acquired tolerance from incubation under distinctive environmental stress, remains unclear in high-pressure operation. In our here presented work, we studied fermentation and microbial community responses of halotolerant marine sediment inoculum (MSI) and anaerobic digester inoculum (ADI), pre-incubated in serum bottles at different temperatures and subsequently exposed to mild hydrostatic pressure (MHP; < 10 MPa) in stainless steel reactors. Results showed that MHP effects on microbial growth, activity, and community structure were strongly temperature-dependent. At moderate temperature (20°C), biomass yield and fermentation were not limited by MHP; suggesting a cross-resistance effect from incubation temperature and halotolerance. Low temperatures (10°C) and MHP imposed kinetic and bioenergetic limitations, constraining growth and product formation. Fermentation remained favorable in MSI at 28°C and ADI at 37°C, despite reduced biomass yield resulting from maintenance and decay proportionally increasing with temperature. Microbial community structure was modified by temperature during the enrichment, and slight differences observed after MHP-exposure did not compromise functionality. Results showed that the relation incubation temperature—halotolerance proved to be a modifier of microbial responses to MHP and could be potentially exploited in fermentations to modulate product/biomass ratio.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1792-1807
Number of pages16
JournalBiotechnology and Bioengineering
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • anaerobic fermentation
  • halotolerance
  • mild hydrostatic pressure
  • piezotolerance
  • psychrotolerance


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