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Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering

Front. Environ. Sci. Eng.    2016, Vol. 10 Issue (4) : 13
A syntrophic propionate-oxidizing microflora and its bioaugmentation on anaerobic wastewater treatment for enhancing methane production and COD removal
Chong Liu1,Jianzheng Li1,*(),Shuo Wang2,Loring Nies3
1. State Key Laboratory of Urban Water Resource and Environment, Harbin Institute of Technology, Harbin 150090, China
2. School of Environment and Civil Engineering, Jiangnan University, Wuxi 214122, China
3. School of Civil Engineering, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA
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Syntrophic propionate-oxidizing microflora B83 was enriched from anaerobic sludge.

The bioaugmentation of microflora B83 were evaluated from wastewater treatment.

Methane yield and COD removal were enhanced by bioaugmentation of microflora B83.

Hydrogen-producing acetogensis was a rate-limiting step in methane fermentation.

Methane fermentation process can be restricted and even destroyed by the accumulation of propionate because it is the most difficult to be anaerobically oxidized among the volatile fatty acids produced by acetogenesis. To enhance anaerobic wastewater treatment process for methane production and COD removal, a syntrophic propionate-oxidizing microflora B83 was obtained from an anaerobic activated sludge by enrichment with propionate. The inoculation of microflora B83, with a 1:9 ratio of bacteria number to that of the activated sludge, could enhance the methane production from glucose by 2.5 times. With the same inoculation dosage of the microflora B83, COD removal in organic wastewater treatment process was improved from 75.6% to 86.6%, while the specific methane production by COD removal was increased by 2.7 times. Hydrogen-producing acetogenesis appeared to be a rate-limiting step in methane fermentation, and the enhancement of hydrogen-producing acetogens in the anaerobic wastewater treatment process had improved not only the hydrogen-producing acetogenesis but also the acidogenesis and methanogenesis.

Keywords Anaerobic wastewater treatment      Methane production      Hydrogen-producing acetogenesis      Methanogenesis      Rate-limiting step      Bioaugmentation     
Corresponding Authors: Jianzheng Li   
Issue Date: 08 July 2016
 Cite this article:   
Chong Liu,Jianzheng Li,Shuo Wang, et al. A syntrophic propionate-oxidizing microflora and its bioaugmentation on anaerobic wastewater treatment for enhancing methane production and COD removal[J]. Front. Environ. Sci. Eng., 2016, 10(4): 13.
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Chong Liu
Jianzheng Li
Shuo Wang
Loring Nies
metabolic characteristics generations
1st 4th 7th 10th
incubation period (days) 51±5 41±2 37±3 30±3
removal of propionic acid (%) 78.0±1.4 89.3±2.5 92.5±3.1 95.8±4.4
degradation rate of propionic acid (mg·L−1?d−1) 140±3.5 204±5.2 240±2.6 270±9.3
acetic acid production (mg·L−1) 533±13.5 1079±22.1 1376±24.6 1204±18.4
H2 production (mL) 32.7±1.5 40.9±4.2 47.0±5.1 50.9±2.7
CH4 production (mL) 33.4±2.4 43.5±5.1 50.8±7.2 60.8±6.9
specific propionic acid degradation rate of biomass (mmol·g−1 MLVSS·d−1) 3.7±1.4 6.6±2.3 17.7±2.1 22.1±4.7
methane yield by propionic acid removal (mol·mol−1) 0.36±0.05 0.37±0.13 0.39±0.22 0.41±0.17
Tab.1  Subcultures of the anaerobic activated sludge enriched by propionate and their performances in oxidizing propionate
control process bioaugmentation process
glucose initial (mg·L−1) 4251±349 4156±100
at the 24th hour (mg·L−1) 607±73 60±30
at the 72th hour (mg·L−1) 33±16 0
at the 96th hour (mg·L−1) 0 0
maximum degrading rate (mmol·h−1) a) 0.056±0.004 0.063±0.001
pH initial 8.3±0.1 8.1±0.1
end (at the 600th hour) 6.7±0.0 6.6±0.1
residual liquid products total (mg·L−1) 1783±23 591±23
propionate (mg·L−1) 309±22 149±13
biogas biogas production (mL) 83.3±3.5 194.4±6.8
methane production (mL) 36.4±2.2 90.3±11.4
maximum H2% in biogas (%) b) 8.0±2.1 2.7±0.3
specific methane yield (mol CH4·mol−1 glucose) 1.0±0.0 2.6±0.0
Tab.2  Performance of glucose fermentation in the control and bioaugmentation processes
Fig.1  COD removal in the control and bioaugmentation processes for organic wastewater treatment
Fig.2  Biogas production and components in the control (a) and the bioaugmentation processes (b) for organic wastewater treatment
Fig.3  Liquid products in the control (a) and the bioaugmentation (b) processes for organic wastewater treatment
controlprocess bioaugmentation process
COD initial (mg·L−1) 12710±476 12727±552
end (mg·L−1) 3100±214 1700±206
removal (%) 75.6±3.5 86.6±5.6
specific COD removal rate (mg·L−1·h−1) 13.7±0.3 15.7±0.5
liquid products total a) (mg·L−1) 2517±221 1312±126
acetate b) (mg·L−1) 739±89 647±63
propionate b) (mg·L−1) 1081±76 238±41
butyrate b) (mg·L−1) 819±53 713±31
ratio of propionate to acetate b) 1.5±0.1 0.3±0.1
biogas yield biogas (mL) 186±5 303±14
CH4 (mL) 27±1 83±12
H2% b) (%) 1.44±0.06 0.51±0.03
CH4 yield by COD removal (mmol·g−1) 1.9±0.2 5.1±0.4
speicfic CH4 production rate (mL·L−1·h−1) 0.6±0.0 1.8±0.3
pH initial 8.1±0.0 8.1±0.0
final a) 6.6±0.1 7.0±0.1
Tab.3  Performances of the control and bioaugmentation processes in organic wastewater treatment
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