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Enhanced methanogenic co-degradation of propionate and butyrate by anaerobic microbiome enriched on conductive carbon fibers

Barua, Sajib, Zakaria, Basem S., Dhar, Bipro Ranjan
Bioresource technology 2018 v.266 pp. 259-266
Methanosaeta, bacteria, biomass, bioreactors, butyrates, carbon, carbon fibers, electron transfer, methane production, methanogens, microbiome
Recent studies have shown that the addition of conductive materials can promote direct interspecies electron transfer (DIET) between bacteria and methanoarchaea. This study demonstrated that carbon fibers could significantly stimulate methanogenic conversion of propionate and butyrate as co-substrate, while only butyrate was completely degraded in the unamended control bioreactor. In the carbon fibers-amended bioreactor, specific methane production (mL-CH4/g CODInitial) and methanogenesis rate (d−1) increased by around 2.4 and 6.7 times, respectively. Various electroactive bacteria were abundant in the carbon fibers-amended bioreactor, whereas different known fermentative bacteria were abundant in the control. Moreover, carbon fibers substantially increased the abundance of Methanosaeta species. These results suggest that electroactive bacteria could be involved in DIET with Methanosaeta species enabling co-degradation of propionate and butyrate. Additionally, electrical conductivities of the biomass were comparable in both configurations, indicating that carbon fibers were the primary route for DIET.