, Volume 27, Issue 1, pp 15–27 | Cite as

Increasing concentrations of phenol progressively affect anaerobic digestion of cellulose and associated microbial communities

  • Olivier ChapleurEmail author
  • Céline Madigou
  • Raphaël Civade
  • Yohan Rodolphe
  • Laurent Mazéas
  • Théodore Bouchez
Original Paper


Performance stability is a key issue when managing anaerobic digesters. However it can be affected by external disturbances caused by micropollutants. In this study the influence of phenol on the methanization of cellulose was evaluated through batch toxicity assays. Special attention was given to the dynamics of microbial communities by means of automated ribosomal intergenic spacer analysis. We observed that, as phenol concentrations increased, the different steps of anaerobic cellulose digestion were unevenly and progressively affected, methanogenesis being the most sensitive: specific methanogenic activity was half-inhibited at 1.40 g/L of phenol, whereas hydrolysis of cellulose and its fermentation to VFA were observed at up to 2.00 g/L. Depending on the level of phenol, microbial communities resisted either through physiological or structural adaptation. Thus, performances at 0.50 g/L were maintained in spite of the microbial community’s shift. However, the communities’ ability to adapt was limited and performances decreased drastically beyond 2.00 g/L of phenol.


ARISA EC50 Inhibition Micropollutants Phenol degradation 



We are grateful to Julien Guieu for the English editing of the manuscript.

Supplementary material

10532_2015_9751_MOESM1_ESM.tiff (45.3 mb)
Fig. S1 Methane production over time. Methane production (mg of C) over time (number of days) for the different groups of triplicate bioreactors (mean values, error bars represent standard deviation within triplicates) (TIFF 46406 kb)
10532_2015_9751_MOESM2_ESM.tiff (45.3 mb)
Fig. S2 Carbon dioxide production over time. Carbon dioxide production (mg of C) over time (number of days) for the different groups of triplicate bioreactors (mean values, error bars represent standard deviation within triplicates) (TIFF 46406 kb)
10532_2015_9751_MOESM3_ESM.tiff (45.3 mb)
Fig. S3 pH over time. pH over time (number of days) for the different groups of triplicate bioreactors (mean values, error bars represent standard deviation within triplicates) (TIFF 46406 kb)
10532_2015_9751_MOESM4_ESM.tiff (45.3 mb)
Fig. S4 Concentration of dissolved organic carbon over time. Dissolved organic carbon (mg of C per L) over time (number of days) for the different groups of triplicate bioreactors (mean values, error bars represent standard deviation within triplicates) (TIFF 46406 kb)
10532_2015_9751_MOESM5_ESM.tif (11.5 mb)
Fig. S5 Principal Component Analysis (PCA) of respectively archaeal and bacterial diversity profiles generated by ARISA. The color scale represents the date of sampling (respectively A and B) or the concentration of phenol measured at the date of sampling (respectively C and D). For Archaea, the first and second axes of the PCA provided the clearest separation of ARISA profiles, with resp. 36.9 % and 21.5 % of the total variance, while for Bacteria, the first and third axes provided the clearest separation, with resp. 40.8 % and 13.0 % of the total variance (TIFF 11748 kb)
10532_2015_9751_MOESM6_ESM.tif (1.9 mb)
Fig. S6 Principal Component Analysis (PCA) of bacterial diversity profiles generated by ARISA. The color scale represents the initial phenol concentration in the bioreactors. The first and second axes of the PCA provided the clearest separation of ARISA profiles, with resp. 32.7 % and 26.2 % of the total variance (TIFF 1953 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Hydrosystems and Bioprocesses Research Unit, IrsteaAntony CedexFrance

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