Hydrogenase activity and methanogenesis in anaerobic sewage sludge, in rumen liquid, and in freshwater sediments

  • U. Zaiß
  • H. Kaltwasser
Microbiology of Sewage and Industrial Wastes


The applicability of hydrogenase determinations to the evaluation of hydrogen transfer reactions occurring within methanogenic environments was investigated. Enzymatic hydrogen production was determined in digester sludge, river sediments, and rumen liquid using reduced methyl viologen, formate, and pyruvate as hydrogen donors. Hydrogenase determinations turned out not to be inhibited by toxic compounds present in sediments of the polluted river Saar. Comparative kinetic studies of the conversion of acetate and of hydrogen to methane support the assumption that carbon dioxide reduction by hydrogen accounts for the major part of methane formed in river sediments. In rumen liquid and in river sediments similar enzyme patterns were observed which were different from that found in digester sludge. The rates of methanogenesis correlated well with hydrogenase activities in all ecosystems studied: Correlation coefficients ranged from 0.84 to 0.95. Rumen liquid and river sediments exhibited higher hydrogenase activities than digester sludge when compared at identical rates of methane production. According to these results, the hydrogenase determination is applicable to the evaluation of the hydrogen transfer, occurring within the microbial biomass of anaerobic ecosystems.


Sludge Microbial Biomass Sewage Sludge Hydrogen Production River Sediment 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Badziong W, Thauer RK (1978) Arch Microbiol 116:41–49Google Scholar
  2. Belyaev SS, Finkelstein ZI, Ivanov MV (1975) Microbiology 44:272–275Google Scholar
  3. Berg L Van den (1979) ASM Abstracts 1979:191Google Scholar
  4. Cappenberg Th E (1974) Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, J Microbiol Serol 40:285–295Google Scholar
  5. Cappenberg Th E, Prins RA (1974) Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, J Microbiol Serol 40:457–469Google Scholar
  6. Deuser WG, Degens ET, Harvey GR (1973) Science 181:51–54Google Scholar
  7. Hespell RB, Canale-Parola E (1973) J Bacteriol 116:931–937Google Scholar
  8. Hungate RE (1966) The rumen and its microbes. Academic Press, New York San Francisco LondonGoogle Scholar
  9. Hungate RE (1967) Arch Mikrobiol 59:158–164Google Scholar
  10. Hungate RE (1976) The rumen fermentation. In: Schlegel HG, Gottschalk G, Pfennig N (eds) Microbial production and utilization of gases. Goltze, Göttingen, pp 119–124Google Scholar
  11. Jeris JS, McCarty PL (1965) J Water Pollut Control Fed 37:178–192Google Scholar
  12. Kaspar HF, Wuhrmann K (1978) Microbial Ecology 4:241–248Google Scholar
  13. Mountfort DO, Asher RA (1978) Appl Environ Microbiol 35:648–654Google Scholar
  14. Peck HD, Gest H (1956) J Bacteriol 71:70–80Google Scholar
  15. Peck HD, Gest H (1957) J Bacteriol 73:706–721Google Scholar
  16. Pfennig N, Biebl H (1976) Arch Microbiol 110:3–12Google Scholar
  17. Rawlings DE, Woods DR (1978) J Appl Bacteriol 44:131–139Google Scholar
  18. Reichardt W (1978) Einführung in die Methoden der Gewässermikrobiologie. Gustav Fischer, StuttgartGoogle Scholar
  19. Smith PH, Mah RA (1966) Appl Microbiol 14:368–371Google Scholar
  20. Sridhar MKL, Pillai SC (1974) Environ Pollut 6:195–220Google Scholar
  21. Strayer RF, Tiedje JM (1978) Appl Environ Microbiol 36:330–340Google Scholar
  22. Teuber M, Brodisch KEU (1977) Eur J Appl Microbiol 4:185–194Google Scholar
  23. Uhlmann D (1975) Hydrobiologie. Gustav Fischer, StuttgartGoogle Scholar
  24. Weber E (1967) Grundriß der biologischen Statistik. Gustav Fischer, StuttgartGoogle Scholar
  25. Widdel F, Pfennig N (1977) Arch Microbiol 112:119–122Google Scholar
  26. Winfrey MR, Zeikus JG (1977) Appl Environ Microbiol 33:275–281Google Scholar
  27. Wolin MJ (1976) Interactions between H2-producing and methane-producing species. In: Schlegel HG, Gottschalk G, Pfennig N (eds) Microbial production and utilization of gases. Goltze, Göttingen, pp 141–150Google Scholar
  28. Zaiß U, Blaß M, Kaltwasser H (1979) Dtsch Gewässerkd Mitt 23:1–6Google Scholar
  29. Zaiß U, Kaltwasser H (1979) Verh Ges Ökologie (Münster 1978), in pressGoogle Scholar
  30. Zaiß U, Kaltwasser H (in press) Arch HydrobiolGoogle Scholar
  31. Zeikus JG, Winfrey MB (1976) Appl Environ Microbiol 31:99–107Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • U. Zaiß
    • 1
  • H. Kaltwasser
    • 1
  1. 1.Fachrichtung MikrobiologieUniversität des SaarlandesSaarbrückenFederal Republic of Germany

Personalised recommendations