Selenium oxyanion inhibition of hydrogenotrophic and acetoclastic methanogenesis

M. Lenz, N. Janzen, P.N.L. Lens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Inhibitory effects of selenite and selenate towards hydrogenotrophic and acetoclastic methanogenesis were evaluated in anaerobic toxicity assays. The 50% inhibitory concentration (IC50) of both selenium oxyanions was below 6.1 X 10(-5) M in hydrogenotrophic assays, whereas acetoclastic methanogens were less inhibited: IC50 = 8.3 x 10(-5) M and 5.5 x 10(-4) M for selenite and selenate, respectively. Selenite completely inhibits methanogenesis from both substrates tested at concentrations >= 10(-3) M selenite, while only marginal methanogenic activities occur at equimolar concentrations of selenate. Selenite becomes irreversibly inhibitory upon a single exposure, whereas selenate inhibits methanogens upon repeated exposure. Consequently, methane recovery can be seriously hampered or even impossible during anaerobic treatment of highly selenium contaminated waste streams.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)383-388
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • anaerobic granular sludge
  • agricultural drainage sediment
  • escherichia-coli
  • thauera-selenatis
  • waste-water
  • elemental selenium
  • sulfate reduction
  • bed reactors
  • bioremediation
  • removal


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