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Impact of increasing NaCl concentrations on the performance and community composition of two anaerobic reactors

Lefebvre, O., Quentin, S., Torrijos, M., Godon, J. J., Delgenès, J. P., Moletta, R.
Applied microbiology and biotechnology 2007 v.75 no.1 pp. 61-69
anaerobic digestion, community structure, effluents, ethanol, methane production, microbial communities, microorganisms, ribosomal DNA, salt content, salt tolerance, sludge, sodium chloride, vinasse, wastewater
The anaerobic treatment of saline effluents using halophilic and halotolerant microbial consortia is of major interest. Inhibition of anaerobic digestion is known to occur at high salt content. However, it seems that the suitable adaptation of an anaerobic sludge makes possible the treatment of saline wastewater. In this study, a non-saline anaerobic sludge was inoculated in two anaerobic batch reactors operating with a different substrate (distillery vinasse and ethanol) and subjected to increasing NaCl concentrations. The performance of the digesters appeared to be highly dependent on the nature of the substrate, and a similar level of inhibition (i.e. around 90% of the specific loading rate and specific methanogenic activity) was stated at 10 g l⁻¹ of NaCl with distillery vinasse and 60 g l⁻¹ of NaCl with ethanol. The characterization of the microflora and its adaptation to increasing NaCl conditions were also investigated using molecular tools based on the analysis of genomic 16S rDNA. The microbial communities revealed a high diversity that could be maintained in both reactors despite the increase in NaCl concentrations.