Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 93, Issue 5, pp 2181–2191 | Cite as

Molecular analysis of the biomass of a fluidized bed reactor treating synthetic vinasse at anaerobic and micro-aerobic conditions

  • Elisa Rodríguez
  • Alexandre Lopes
  • María Fdz.-Polanco
  • Alfons J. M. Stams
  • Pedro A. García-EncinaEmail author
Environmental biotechnology


The microbial communities (Bacteria and Archaea) established in an anaerobic fluidized bed reactor used to treat synthetic vinasse (betaine, glucose, acetate, propionate, and butyrate) were characterized by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) and phylogenetic analysis. This study was focused on the competitive and syntrophic interactions between the different microbial groups at varying influent substrate to sulfate ratios of 8, 4, and 2 and anaerobic or micro-aerobic conditions. Acetogens detected along the anaerobic phases at substrate to sulfate ratios of 8 and 4 seemed to be mainly involved in the fermentation of glucose and betaine, but they were substituted by other sugar or betaine degraders after oxygen application. Typical fatty acid degraders that grow in syntrophy with methanogens were not detected during the entire reactor run. Likely, sugar and betaine degraders outnumbered them in the DGGE analysis. The detected sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB) belonged to the hydrogen-utilizing Desulfovibrio. The introduction of oxygen led to the formation of elemental sulfur (S0) and probably other sulfur compounds by sulfide-oxidizing bacteria (γ-Proteobacteria). It is likely that the sulfur intermediates produced from sulfide oxidation were used by SRB and other microorganisms as electron acceptors, as was supported by the detection of the sulfur respiring Wolinella succinogenes. Within the Archaea population, members of Methanomethylovorans and Methanosaeta were detected throughout the entire reactor operation. Hydrogenotrophic methanogens mainly belonging to the genus Methanobacterium were detected at the highest substrate to sulfate ratio but rapidly disappeared by increasing the sulfate concentration.


Sulfate-reducing bacteria DGGE Micro-aerobic Sulfur-oxidizing bacteria Methanogenesis 



This research was supported by the Spanish Ministry of Education and Science (contract project CTQ2007-64324 and CONSOLIDER-CSD 2007–00055). The Regional Government of Castilla y Leon (Ref. VA038A07) is also gratefully acknowledged. The authors wish to thank to Lorena López and Irene Sánchez for helpful in sequence analysis.

Supplementary material

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ESM 1 (DOC 72 kb)
253_2011_3529_MOESM2_ESM.doc (72 kb)
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elisa Rodríguez
    • 1
  • Alexandre Lopes
    • 1
    • 2
  • María Fdz.-Polanco
    • 1
  • Alfons J. M. Stams
    • 3
  • Pedro A. García-Encina
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Chemical Engineering and Environmental TechnologyValladolid UniversityValladolidSpain
  2. 2.Technology Center, Department of Hydraulic and Environmental EngineeringFederal University of CearáFortalezaBrazil
  3. 3.Laboratory of MicrobiologyWageningen UniversityWageningenThe Netherlands

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