Effect of Sulfur Source on the Performance and Metal Retention of Methanol-Fed UASB Reactors

M.H. Zandvoort, E.D. van Hullebusch, J. Gieteling, G. Lettinga, P.N.L. Lens

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13 Citations (Scopus)


The effect of a sulfur source on the performance and metal retention of methanol-fed upflow anaerobic sludge bed (UASB) reactors was investigated. For this purpose, two UASB reactors were operated with cobalt preloaded granular sludge (1 mM CoCl2; 30° C; 24 h) at an organic loading rate (OLR) of 5 g COD·L reactor-1·d-1. One UASB reactor (R1) was operated without a sulfur source in the influent during the first 37 days. In this period the methanol conversion to methane remained very poor, apparently due to the absence of a sulfur source, because once cysteine, a sulfur-containing amino acid, was added to the influent of R1 (day 37) a full conversion of methanol to methane occurred within 6 days. The second reactor (R2) was operated with sulfate (0.41 mM) in the influent during the first 86 days of operation, during which no limitation in the methanol conversion to methane manifested. Cobalt washed out from the sludge at similar rates in both reactors. The leaching of cobalt occurred at two distinct rates, first at a high rate of 22 ¿g·g TSS-1·d-1, which proceeded mainly from the exchangeable and carbonate fraction and later at a relatively slow rate of 9 ¿g·g TSS-1·d-1 from the organic/sulfide fraction. This study showed that the supply of the sulfur source L-cysteine has a pronounced positive effect on the methanogenic activity and the retention of metals such as iron, zinc and molybdenum.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)839-850
JournalBiotechnology Progress
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • anaerobic granular sludges
  • methanosarcina-mazei s-6
  • sequential extraction
  • cobalt sorption
  • bed reactor
  • degradation
  • sulfate
  • nickel
  • growth
  • bacteria

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