Characterization of an anaerobic thermophilic glycerol-degrading enrichment culture

J.A. Ribeiro, A.J. Cavaleiro, D.Z. Sousa, M.M. Alves, A.J.M. Stams

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingAbstract


Background: The glycerol market was totally changed by the biodiesel industry, which resulted in the production of an excess of this compound as an industrial by-product. As a consequence, the price of glycerol dropped and a huge interest in alternatives for its valorisation emerged since then. In the field of Biotechnology research, glycerol is an attractive compound for the microbial production of chemical building blocks. Objectives: The aim of this work was to investigate thermophilic anaerobic communities capable of conversion of glycerol. Methods: Thermophilic sludge from a lab-scale anaerobic reactor fed with skim milk and sodium oleate (50:50% chemical oxygen demand) was incubated at 55°C in closed bottles containing bicarbonate-buffered medium supplemented with 10mM glycerol. Periodic successive transfers of the glycerol-converting enrichment culture, combined with serial dilutions were performed. After eight generations a highly enriched, low diversity (microscopic observations and 16s rRNA DGGE profiling) microbial culture was obtained. Conclusions: The enriched culture converted glycerol mainly to methane (6mM) and acetate (7mM) within 6 days of incubation. A yet unknown organic compound was also produced. Sequencing results obtained on the Illumina platform showed the bacterial predominance of an uncultured Thermotoga species (75 % of the retrieved sequences), an uncultured Anaerobaculum species (13 %) and a close relative to Thermoanaerobacter pseudethanolicus (5 %). Isolation of the new uncultured Thermotoga and Anaerobaculum species is ongoing and their role in glycerol degradation will be assessed
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAbstracts 6th Congress of European Microbiologists
PagesFEMS 1480
Publication statusPublished - 2015
EventFEMS 2015 - 6th Congress of European Microbiologists, Maastricht, Netherlands -
Duration: 7 Jun 201511 Jun 2015


ConferenceFEMS 2015 - 6th Congress of European Microbiologists, Maastricht, Netherlands


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