Temperature as competitive strategy determining factor in pulse-fed aerobic bioreactors

Gerben Roelandt Stouten*, Carmen Hogendoorn, Sieze Douwenga, Estelle Silvia Kilias, Gerard Muyzer, Robbert Kleerebezem

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Exposing a microbial community to alternating absence and presence of carbon substrate in aerobic conditions is an effective strategy for enrichment of storage polymers (polyhydroxybutyrate, PHB) producing microorganisms. In this work we investigate to which extent intermediate storage polymer production is a temperature independent microbial competition determining factor. Eight parallel bioreactors were operated in the temperature range of 20–40 °C, but intermediate storage polymer production was only obtained at 25–35 °C. Besides PHB production and consumption, cell decay and subsequent cryptic growth on lysis products was found to determine process properties and the microbial community structure at all operational temperatures. At 40 °C decay processes cannot be overcome with additional energy from storage polymers, and fast-growing microorganisms dominate the system. At 20 °C, highly competitive communities with ambiguous storage properties were enriched. The results described here demonstrate that a rigorous experimental approach could aid in the understanding of competitive strategies in microbial communities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3112-3125
Number of pages14
JournalISME Journal
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2019


Dive into the research topics of 'Temperature as competitive strategy determining factor in pulse-fed aerobic bioreactors'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this