, Volume 131, Issue 3, pp 278-282

Different Ks values for hydrogen of methanogenic bacteria and sulfate reducing bacteria: An explanation for the apparent inhibition of methanogenesis by sulfate

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Desulfovibrio vulgaris (Marburg) and Methanobrevibacter arboriphilus (AZ) are anaerobic sewage sludge bacteria which grow on H2 plus sulfate and H2 plus CO2 as sole energy sources, respectively. Their apparent Ks values for H2 were determined and found to be approximately 1 μM for the sulfate reducing bacterium and 6 μM for the methanogenic bacterium. In mixed cell suspensions of the two bacteria (adjusted to equal V max) the rate of H2 consumption by D. vulgaris was five times that of M. arboriphilus, when the hydrogen supply was rate limiting. The apparent inhibition of methanogenesis was of the same order as expected from the different Ks values for H2. Difference in substrate affinities can thus account for the inhibition of methanogenesis from H2 and CO2 in sulfate rich environments, where the H2 concentration is well below 5 μM.