Eubacterium coprostanoligenes and Methanoculleus identified as potential producers of metabolites that contribute to swine manure foaming

Noah B Strom, Yiwei Ma, Zheting Bi, Daniel Andersen, Steve Trabue, Chi Chen, Bo Hu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Aim: Swine manure foaming is a major problem, causing damage to property, livestock, and people. Here, we identified the main chemicals and microbes that contribute to foaming. Methods and results: Foaming and non-foaming swine manure were sampled from farms in Iowa and Illinois. Targeted and untargeted metabolomics analyses identified chemical markers that differed between foaming and non-foaming manure and between manure layers. Microbial community analysis and metagenomics were performed on a subset of samples. Foam contained significantly higher levels of total bile acids and long chain fatty acids like palmitic, stearic and oleic acid than the other manure layers. Foam layers also had significantly higher levels of ubiquinone 9 and ubiquinone 10. The slurry layer of foaming samples contained more alanine, isoleucine/leucine, diacylglycerols (DG), phosphtatidylethanolamines, and vitamin K2, while ceramide was significantly increased in the slurry layer of non-foaming samples. Eubacterium coprostanoligenes and Methanoculleus were more abundant in foaming samples, and E. coprostanoligenes was significantly correlated with levels of DG. Genes involved in diacylglycerol biosynthesis and in the biosynthesis of branched-chain hydrophobic amino acids were overrepresented in foaming samples. Conclusions: A mechanism for manure foaming is hypothesized in which proliferation of Methanoculleus leads to excessive production of methane, while production of DG by E. coprostanoligenes and hydrophobic proteins by Methanosphaera stadtmanae facilitates bubble formation and stabilization. Significance and impact of study: While some chemical and biological treatments have been developed to treat swine manure foaming, its causes remain unknown. We identified key microbes and metabolites that correlate with foaming and point to possible roles of other factors like animal feed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2906-2924
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Applied Microbiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We also want to acknowledge Laura M Pepple at University of Illinois, Urbana‐Champaign for collecting and providing samples for the analysis. We want to acknowledge funding supports provided by Minnesota Rapid Agricultural Response and Iowa Pork Producers Association.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Society for Applied Microbiology


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