Cultivation of high rate sulfate reducing sludge by pH-based electron donor dosage

P.L. Paulo, R. Kleerbezem, G. Lettinga, P.N.L. Lens

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18 Citations (Scopus)


A novel self-regulating bioreactor concept for sulfate reduction is proposed aiming for high biomass concentrations and treatment capacities. The system consists of a cell suspension of sulfate reducing bacteria in a continuous stirred tank reactor (30 degrees C) fed with a mixture of both electron donor and electron acceptor (formic acid and sulfuric acid, respectively), nutrients and phosphate buffer via a pH controller. The pH rise due to sulfate reduction is balanced with dosage of the sulfate reducing substrates as acids. The reactor concept was shown to be capable of full sulfate reduction without competition for the electron donor by methanogens and acetogens. Activity assays revealed that hardly any methanogenic activity on formate was left in the suspension by the end of the continuous run (130 days). In addition, the sulfidogenic activity with formate and H2/CO2 had increased, respectively, 3.9 and 11.6 times at the end of the experimental run. The evolution of the particle size distribution of the cell suspension over time indicated that newly grown cells have the tendency to attach together in flocs or to the existing agglomerates.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-116
JournalJournal of Biotechnology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • anaerobic-digestion
  • high salinity
  • methanol
  • hydrogen
  • reactors
  • methanogenesis
  • competition
  • conversion
  • reduction


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