Original Paper

Archives of Microbiology

, Volume 162, Issue 1, pp 70-74

First online:

Mesophilic syntrophic acetate oxidation during methane formation by a triculture at high ammonium concentration

  • Anna SchnürerAffiliated withDepartment of Microbiology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
  • , Frans P. HouwenAffiliated withLaboratory for Molecular Genetics, University of Gent
  • , Bo H. SvenssonAffiliated withDepartment of Microbiology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

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In a mesophilic (37°C) triculture at a high ammonium concentration and pH8, methanogenesis from acetate occurred via syntrophic acetate oxidation. Studies with 14C-labelled substrates showed that the amount of labelled methane formed from 1-14C-labelled acetate was equal to that formed from 2-14C-labelled acetate. Labelled methane was also formed from H14CO3 -. These results clearly showed that both the methyl and carboxyl groups of acetate were oxidized to CO2 and that CO2 was reduced to CH4 through hydrogenotrophic methanogenesis. During growth of the triculture, a significant isotopic exchange between the carboxyl group of acetate and bicarbonate occurred. As a result, there was a decrease in the specific activity of 1-14C-acetate, and the production of 14CO2 was slightly higher from 1-14C- than from 2-14C-acetate. For each mole acetate degraded, 0.94 mol methane was formed; 9.2 mmol acetate was metabolized during the 294 days of incubation.

Key words

Mesophilic acetate oxidation Methanogenesis Ammonium Syntrophy Interspecies hydrogen transfer