Activity and viability of methanogens in anaerobic digestion of unsaturated and saturated long-chain fatty acids

D.Z. Sousa, A.F. Salvador, J. Ramos, A.P. Guedes, S. Barbosa, A.J.M. Stams, M.M. Alves, M.A. Pereira

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52 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Lipids can be anaerobically digested to methane, but methanogens are often considered to be highly sensitive to the long-chain fatty acids (LCFA) deriving from lipids hydrolysis. In this study, the effect of unsaturated (oleate [C18:1]) and saturated (stearate [C18:0] and palmitate [C16:0]) LCFA toward methanogenic archaea was studied in batch enrichments and in pure cultures. Overall, oleate had a more stringent effect on methanogens than saturated LCFA, and the degree of tolerance to LCFA was different among distinct species of methanogens. Methanobacterium formicicum was able to grow in both oleate- and palmitate-degrading enrichments (OM and PM cultures, respectively), whereas Methanospirillum hungatei only survived in a PM culture. The two acetoclastic methanogens tested, Methanosarcina mazei and Methanosaeta concilii, could be detected in both enrichment cultures, with better survival in PM cultures than in OM cultures. Viability tests using live/dead staining further confirmed that exponential growth-phase cultures of M. hungatei are more sensitive to oleate than are M. formicicum cultures; exposure to 0.5 mM oleate damaged 99% ± 1% of the cell membranes of M. hungatei and 53% ± 10% of the cell membranes of M. formicicum. In terms of methanogenic activity, M. hungatei was inhibited for 50% by 0.3, 0.4, and 1 mM oleate, stearate, and palmitate, respectively. M. formicicum was more resilient, since 1 mM oleate and >4 mM stearate or palmitate was needed to cause 50% inhibition on methanogenic activity
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4239-4245
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Volume79
Issue number14
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Keywords

  • 16s ribosomal-rna
  • microbial communities
  • calcium addition
  • waste-water
  • oleic-acid
  • bacteria
  • inhibition
  • sludge
  • bioreactors
  • diversity

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