Vacuum promotes metabolic shifts and increases biogenic hydrogen production in dark fermentation systems
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The successful operation of any type of hydrogen-producing bioreactor depends on the performance of the microorganisms present in the system. Both substrate and partial gas pressures are crucial factors affecting dark fermentation metabolic pathways. The main objective of this study was to evaluate the impact of both factors on hydrogen production using anaerobic granular sludge as inoculum and, secondly, to study the metabolic shifts of an anaerobic community subjected to low partial gas pressures. With this goal in mind, seven different wastewater (four synthetic media, two industrial wastewater, and one domestic effluent) and the effect of applying vacuum on the systems were analyzed. The application of vacuum promoted an increase in the diversity of hydrogenproducing bacteria, such as Clostridium, and promoted the dominance of acetoclastic- over hydrogenotrophic methanogens. The application of different media promoted a wide variety of metabolic pathways. Nevertheless, reduction of the hydrogen partial pressure by application of vacuum lead to further oxidation of reaction intermediates irrespective of the medium used, which resulted in higher hydrogen and methane production, and improved the COD removal. Interestingly, vacuum greatly promoted biogenic hydrogen production from a real wastewater, which opens possibilities for future application of dark fermentation systems to enhance biohydrogen yields.
Keywordsdark fermentation biohydrogen wastewaters vacuum
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