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Journal Article

Interactions between anaerobic ammonium- and methane-oxidizing microorganisms in a laboratory-scale sequencing batch reactor


Kartal,  Boran
Research Group for Microbial Physiology, Department of Biogeochemistry, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Max Planck Society;

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Stultiens, K., Cruz, S. G., van Kessel, M. A. H. J., Jetten, M. S. M., Kartal, B., & Op den Camp, H. J. M. (2019). Interactions between anaerobic ammonium- and methane-oxidizing microorganisms in a laboratory-scale sequencing batch reactor. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, 103(16), 6783-6795. doi:10.1007/s00253-019-09976-9.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0005-BAAF-5
The reject water of anaerobic digestors still contains high levels of methane and ammonium that need to be treated before these effluents can be discharged to surface waters. Simultaneous anaerobic methane and ammonium oxidation performed by nitrate/nitrite-dependent anaerobic methane-oxidizing(N-damo) microorganisms and anaerobic ammonium-oxidizing(anammox) bacteria is considered a potential solution to this challenge. Here, a stable coculture of N-damo archaea, N-damo bacteria, and anammox bacteria was obtained in a sequencing batch reactor fed with methane, ammonium, and nitrite. Nitrite and ammonium removal rates of up to 455mg N-NO(2)(-)L(-1)day(-1) and 228mg N-NH4+L-1 were reached. All nitrate produced by anammox bacteria (57mg N-NO(3)(-)L(-1)day(-1)) was consumed, leading to a nitrogen removal efficiency of 97.5%. In the nitrite and ammonium limited state, N-damo and anammox bacteria each constituted about 30-40% of the culture and were separated as granules and flocs in later stages of the reactor operation. The N-damo archaea increased up to 20% and mainly resided in the granular biomass with their N-damo bacterial counterparts. About 70% of the nitrite in the reactor was removed via the anammox process, and batch assays confirmed that anammox activity in the reactor was close to its maximal potential activity. In contrast, activity of N-damo bacteria was much higher in batch, indicating that these bacteria were performing suboptimally in the sequencing batch reactor, and would probably be outcompeted by anammox bacteria if ammonium was supplied in excess. Together these results indicate that the combination of N-damo and anammox can be implemented for the removal of methane at the expense of nitrite and nitrate in future wastewater treatment systems.