Molecular analyses of methanogen diversity associated with cattle dung

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Methanogen communities were characterized in cattle dung of different ages by using a culture-independent approach. Community structures were determined by the phylogenetic analyses of methyl-coenzyme M reductase A (mcrA) clones of fresh, 8-month-old, and 24-month-old-dry dung samples. The clones in the mcrA libraries of fresh and 8-month old dung samples were identified as belonging to Methanomicrobiales, Methanobacteriales, and Methanosarcinales. However, clones in the library of 24-month-old dung were not affiliated to Methanomicrobiales. Anaerobic digestion of 2-month-old dung produced only 15% less methane compared to fresh dung which indicated the possibility of using dry dung to fuel the biogas plants in areas where unavailability of fresh dung hinders their continuous functioning. Our results first time showed the presence of viable methanogens in dry cattle dung stored for prolonged periods of time.

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