Main content area

Sulfate reduction in a hydrogen fed bioreactor operated at haloalkaline conditions

Sousa, João A.B., Plugge, Caroline M., Stams, Alfons J.M., Bijmans, Martijn F.M.
Water research 2015 v.68 pp. 67-76
Methanobacterium, Tindallia, biofilm, biomass, bioreactors, calcite, crystals, glass, hydrogen, magnesite, microbial communities, organic compounds, pH, salinity, streams, sulfates, sulfides
Biological sulfate reduction is used as a biotechnological process to treat sulfate rich streams. However, application of biological sulfate reduction at high pH and high salinity using H2 was not thoroughly investigated before. In this work the sulfate reduction activity, biomass growth, microbial community and biomass aggregation were investigated in a H2-fed gas lift bioreactor at haloalkaline conditions. The process was characterized by low sulfate reduction volumetric rates due to slow growth and lack of biomass aggregation. Apparently, the extreme conditions and absence of organic compounds prevented the formation of stable aggregates. The microbial community analysis revealed a low abundance of known haloalkaliphilic sulfate reducers and presence of a Tindallia sp. The identified archaea were related to Methanobacterium alcaliphilum and Methanocalculus sp. The biomass did not attach to metal sulfides, calcite and magnesite crystals. However, biofilm formation on the glass bioreactor walls showed that attachment to glass occurs.