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Acetotrophic Activity Facilitates Methanogenesis from LCFA at Low Temperatures: Screening from Mesophilic Inocula

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Original languageEnglish
Article number1751783
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


The inoculum source plays a crucial role in the anaerobic treatment of wastewaters. Lipids are present in various wastewaters and have a high methanogenic potential, but their hydrolysis results in the production of long chain fatty acids (LCFAs) that are inhibitory to anaerobic microorganisms. Screening of inoculum for the anaerobic treatment of LCFA-containing wastewaters has been performed at mesophilic and thermophilic conditions. However, an evaluation of inocula for producing methane from LCFA-containing wastewater has not yet been conducted at low temperatures and needs to be undertaken. In this study, three inocula (one granular sludge and two municipal digester sludges) were assessed for methane production from LCFA-containing synthetic dairy wastewater (SDW) at low temperatures (10 and 20°C). A methane yield (based on mL-CH4/g-CODadded) of 86-65% with acetate and 45-20% with SDW was achieved within 10 days using unacclimated granular sludge, whereas the municipal digester sludges produced methane only at 20°C but not at 10°C even after 200 days of incubation. The acetotrophic activity in the inoculum was found to be crucial for methane production from LCFA at low temperatures, highlighting the role of Methanosaeta (acetoclastic archaea) at low temperatures. The presence of bacterial taxa from the family Syntrophaceae (Syntrophus and uncultured taxa) in the inoculum was found to be important for methane production from SDW at 10°C. This study suggests the evaluation of acetotrophic activity and the initial microbial community characteristics by high-throughput amplicon sequencing for selecting the inoculum for producing methane at low temperatures (up to 10°C) from lipid-containing wastewaters.

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Field of science, Statistics Finland

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