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Biochemical methane potential of microalgae biomass using different microbial inocula

Gonzalez-Fernandez, Cristina, Barreiro-Vescovo, Santiago, de Godos, Ignacio, Fernandez, Maikel, Zouhayr, Arbib, Ballesteros, Mercedes
Biotechnology for biofuels 2018 v.11 no.1 pp. 184
Chlorella sorokiniana, Clostridia, Proteobacteria, Scenedesmus, anaerobic digestion, bioenergy, biomass, chemical oxygen demand, feedstocks, inoculum, methane, methane production, methanogens, microalgae, microbiome, models, sewage sludge, temperature
BACKGROUND: Microalgae biomass is regarded as a potential feedstock for bioenergy purposes through anaerobic digestion (AD). Even though AD is a well-proven technology, the use of new feedstocks requires in-depth studies. A lot of research has been conducted assessing methane yield without paying attention to the anaerobic microbiome and their activities. For such a goal, the present investigation was designed to link methane yield to those two later sludge characteristics. In this sense, different anaerobic sources were tested, namely adapted to microalgae biomass and adapted to sewage sludge. RESULTS: Despite the registered differences for the anaerobic microbiome analysis and specific methane activities towards model substrates, sludge adapted to digest sewage sludge did not affect the methane yield of Chlorella sorokiniana and Scenedesmus sp. Opposite to that, sludge samples adapted to digest microalgae exhibited a concomitant increase in methane yield together with increasing digestion temperatures. More specifically, the values attained were 63.4 ± 1.5, 79.2 ± 3.1 and 108.2 ± 1.9 mL CH₄ g COD in⁻¹ for psychrophilic, mesophilic and thermophilic digestions, respectively. While psycro- and mesophilic digestion supported similar yields (most probably linked to their anaerobic microbiome resemblance), the values attained for thermophilic digestion evidenced the usefulness of having a highly specific microbiome. The relative abundance of Firmicutes, particularly Clostridia, and Proteobacteria together with an important abundance of hydrogenotrophic methanogens was highlighted in this inoculum. CONCLUSION: Overall, this study showed that working with tailored anaerobic microbiome could help avoiding pretreatments devoted to methane yield enhancement.