The viability of low-temperature sulfate reduction with hydrogen as electron donor was studied with a bench-scale gas-lift bioreactor (GLB) operated at 9 degrees C. Prior to the GLB experiment, the temperature range of sulfate reduction of the inoculum was assayed. The results of the temperature gradient assay indicated that the inoculum was a psychrotolerant mesophilic enrichment culture that had an optimal temperature for sulfate reduction of 31 degrees C, and minimum and maximum temperatures of 7 degrees C and 41 degrees C, respectively. In the GLB experiment at 9 degrees C, a sulfate reduction rate of 500-600 mg l(-1) d(-1), corresponding to a specific activity of 173 mg SO42- g VSS-1 d(-1), was obtained. The electron flow from the consumed H-2-gas to sulfate reduction varied between 27% and 52%, whereas the electron flow to acetate production decreased steadily from 15% to 5%. No methane was produced. Acetate was produced from CO2 and H-2 by homoacetogenic bacteria. Acetate supported the growth of some heterotrophic sulfate-reducing bacteria. The sulfate reduction rate in the GLB was limited by the slow biomass growth rate at 9 degrees C and low biomass retention in the reactor. Nevertheless, this study demonstrated the potential sulfate reduction rate of psychrotolerant sulfate-reducing mesophiles at suboptimal temperature.
- reducing bacteria
- retention time