Interactions of functional microorganisms and their contributions to methane bioconversion to short-chain fatty acids

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Original languageEnglish
Article number117184
Journal / PublicationWater Research
Online published26 Apr 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2021
Externally publishedYes


Methane bioconversion to value-added liquid chemicals has been proposed as a promising solution to augment the petroleum-dominated chemical market. Recent investigations have reported that various electron acceptors (e.g., nitrite and nitrate) are available to drive methane bioconversion to short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). However, little is known about effects of the rate electron acceptor supplied on liquid chemical production from methane. Herein, three independent membrane biofilm reactors (MBfRs) feeding with respective nitrate, nitrite, combined nitrate and nitrite were operated under high and low rate condition in succession, to study whether feeding rate of electron acceptors could impact the methane bioconversion to SCFAs and the associated microbiological features. Long-term operation showed that all tested electron acceptors with a high supply rate were favorable for methane bioconversion to SCFAs (990.9 mg L−1d−1, 1695.7 mg L−1d−1, and 2425.7 mg L−1d−1), while under a low electron acceptor feeding rate, the SCFA production rate decreased to 8.9 mg L−1d−1, 16.8 mg L−1d−1, and 260.1 mg L−1d−1, respectively. Microbial community characterization showed that the biofilm was predominated by Methanosarcina, Methanobacterium, Propionispora and Clostridium. On the basis of the known metabolism characteristics of these microorganisms, it was assumed that these methanogens and fermenters contributed jointly to methane bioconversion to SCFAs. The findings could be helpful to understand the role of electron acceptor rate in methane bioconversion to liquid chemicals. © 2021 Elsevier Ltd.

Research Area(s)

  • Electron acceptor, Gas to liquid, Membrane biofilm reactor (MBfR), Methane, Short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs)