Microbiological insights into anaerobic digestion for biogas, hydrogen or volatile fatty acids (VFAs): a review

Sharareh Harirchi*, Steven Wainaina, Taner Sar, Seyed Ali Nojoumi, Milad Parchami, Mohsen Parchami, Sunita Varjani, Samir Kumar Khanal, Jonathan Wong, Mukesh Kumar Awasthi, Mohammad J. Taherzadeh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

124 Citations (Scopus)


In the past decades, considerable attention has been directed toward anaerobic digestion (AD), which is an effective biological process for converting diverse organic wastes into biogas, volatile fatty acids (VFAs), biohydrogen, etc. The microbial bioprocessing takes part during AD is of substantial significance, and one of the crucial approaches for the deep and adequate understanding and manipulating it toward different products is process microbiology. Due to highly complexity of AD microbiome, it is critically important to study the involved microorganisms in AD. In recent years, in addition to traditional methods, novel molecular techniques and meta-omics approaches have been developed which provide accurate details about microbial communities involved AD. Better understanding of process microbiomes could guide us in identifying and controlling various factors in both improving the AD process and diverting metabolic pathway toward production of selective bio-products. This review covers various platforms of AD process that results in different final products from microbiological point of view. The review also highlights distinctive interactions occurring among microbial communities. Furthermore, assessment of these communities existing in the anaerobic digesters is discussed to provide more insights into their structure, dynamics, and metabolic pathways. Moreover, the important factors affecting microbial communities in each platform of AD are highlighted. Finally, the review provides some recent applications of AD for the production of novel bio-products and deals with challenges and future perspectives of AD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6521-6557
Number of pages37
Issue number3
Early online date25 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2022

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Biotechnology

User-Defined Keywords

  • Anaerobic digestion
  • artificial rumen
  • interspecies electron transfer
  • microbial communities
  • syntrophy
  • Wood-Ljungdahl pathway


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