Main content area

Reversibility of hydrolysis inhibition at high hydrogen partial pressure in dry anaerobic digestion processes fed with wheat straw and inoculated with anaerobic granular sludge

Cazier, Elisabeth A., Trably, Eric, Steyer, Jean-Philippe, Escudie, Renaud
Waste management 2019 v.85 pp. 498-505
Methanomicrobiales, Methanosarcinales, acetogens, anaerobic digestion, byproducts, carbon dioxide, hydrogen, hydrolysis, methane production, methanogens, microbial activity, sludge, waste management, wheat straw
In dry anaerobic digestion (AD), methanogenic performances are lowered by high solid contents. Low performances are often caused by a decrease of the gas-liquid transfer kinetics leading to local accumulation of inhibitory by-products. Hydrogen was previously identified as an inhibitor of hydrolytic and acetogenic microbial activities in dry AD. CO2 is also generated but its impact on the microbial activity remains unknown. In this study, the reversibility of dry AD inhibition at high H2 partial pressure (PH2 of 1 bar) was investigated by adding CO2 (400 mbars) after 11 and 18 days of methanogenesis inhibition, in an AD process operated at 25% TS, using wheat straw as substrate and inoculated with anaerobic granular sludge. As soon as CO2 was added, the methanogenic activity rapidly recovered within 3 days, from 0.41 ± 0.1 to 3.77 ± 0.8 and then 2.25 ± 0.3, likely through the hydrogenotrophic pathway followed by the acetoclastic pathway, respectively. This result was confirmed by the high abundance of Methanomicrobiales (83%) and the emergence of Methanosarcinales sp (up to 17%) within the methanogenic community. Furthermore, the recovery kinetics were impacted by the duration of the inhibition period suggesting a different impact of the high PH2 on hydrogenotrophic and acetoclastic methanogens.