The methanogenic community structures of four different anaerobic processes were characterized using a quantitative real-time PCR with group-specific primer and probe sets targeting the 16S rRNA gene (rDNA). The group specific primer and probe sets were developed and used to detect the orders Methanosarcinales, and the families Methanosarcinaceae and Methanosaetaceae. Two separate sets targeting the domains Archaea and Bacteria were also used. Each microbial population in different anaerobic processes was determined and the relative abundance in the system was compared with each other. Dominant methanogenic populations and the community structures in the processes were varied by hydraulic retention time and acetate concentration. This indicates that the real-time PCR method with the primer and probe sets is a promising tool to analyze community structures in anaerobic processes.

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