We are rapidly increasing our understanding on the spatial distribution of microbial communities. However, microbial functioning, as well as temporal differences and mechanisms causing microbial community shifts, remains comparably little explored. Here, using Chinese liquor fermentation as a model system containing a low microbial diversity, we studied temporal changes in microbial community structure and functioning. For that, we used high-throughput sequencing to analyze the composition of bacteria and fungi and analyzed the microbially derived metabolome throughout the fermentation process in all four seasons in both 2018 and 2019. We show that microbial communities and the metabolome changed throughout the fermentation process in each of the four seasons, with metabolome diversity increasing throughout the fermentation process. Across seasons, bacterial and fungal communities as well as the metabolome driven by 10 indicator microorganisms and six metabolites varied even more. Daily average temperature in the external surroundings was the primary determinant of the observed temporal microbial community and metabolome changes. Collectively, our work reveals critical insights into patterns and processes determining temporal changes of microbial community composition and functioning. We highlight the importance of linking taxonomic to functional changes in microbial ecology to enable predictions of human-relevant applications.
- Fermentation system
- Seasonal factors