Effect of yeast extract on speciation and bioavailability of nickel and cobalt in anaerobic bioreactors

G. Gonzalez-Gil, S. Jansen, M.H. Zandvoort, H.P. van Leeuwen

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The speciation of metals plays an important role in their bioavailability. In the case of anaerobic reactors for the treatment of wastewaters, the ubiquitous presence of sulfide leads to extensive precipitation of metals like nickel and cobalt, which are essential for the metabolism of the anaerobic microorganisms that carry out the mineralization of the pollutants present in the wastewater. In practice, nickel, cobalt, and iron are added in excessive amounts to full-scale installations. This study is concerned with the complexation of nickel and cobalt with yeast extract and its effect on the biogas production by methanogenic biomass. Adsorptive stripping voltammetry (AdSV) was used to get information about the stability and complexing capacity of the metal-yeast extract complexes formed. Nickel and cobalt form relatively strong organic complexes with yeast extract. The bioavailability of these essential metals in anaerobic batch reactors was dramatically increased by the addition of yeast extract. This is due to the formation of dissolved bioavailable complexes, which favors the dissolution of metals from their sulfides. Trace doses of yeast extract may be effective in keeping additions of essential metals to anaerobic reactors at a minimum.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)134-142
JournalBiotechnology and Bioengineering
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2003


  • cathodic stripping voltammetry
  • chemical speciation
  • dissolved copper
  • metal speciation
  • natural-waters
  • methanosarcina
  • complexation
  • kinetics
  • bacteria
  • growth


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