American Chemical Society

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Magnetite Alters the Metabolic Interaction between Methanogens and Sulfate-Reducing Bacteria

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posted on 2023-10-20, 21:35 authored by Ginevra Giangeri, Panagiotis Tsapekos, Maria Gaspari, Parisa Ghofrani-Isfahani, Marie Karen Tracy Hong Lin, Laura Treu, Panagiotis Kougias, Stefano Campanaro, Irini Angelidaki
It is known that the presence of sulfate decreases the methane yield in the anaerobic digestion systems. Sulfate-reducing bacteria can convert sulfate to hydrogen sulfide competing with methanogens for substrates such as H2 and acetate. The present work aims to elucidate the microbial interactions in biogas production and assess the effectiveness of electron-conductive materials in restoring methane production after exposure to high sulfate concentrations. The addition of magnetite led to a higher methane content in the biogas and a sharp decrease in the level of hydrogen sulfide, indicating its beneficial effects. Furthermore, the rate of volatile fatty acid consumption increased, especially for butyrate, propionate, and acetate. Genome-centric metagenomics was performed to explore the main microbial interactions. The interaction between methanogens and sulfate-reducing bacteria was found to be both competitive and cooperative, depending on the methanogenic class. Microbial species assigned to the Methanosarcina genus increased in relative abundance after magnetite addition together with the butyrate oxidizing syntrophic partners, in particular belonging to the Syntrophomonas genus. Additionally, Ruminococcus sp. DTU98 and other species assigned to the Chloroflexi phylum were positively correlated to the presence of sulfate-reducing bacteria, suggesting DIET-based interactions. In conclusion, this study provides new insights into the application of magnetite to enhance the anaerobic digestion performance by removing hydrogen sulfide, fostering DIET-based syntrophic microbial interactions, and unraveling the intricate interplay of competitive and cooperative interactions between methanogens and sulfate-reducing bacteria, influenced by the specific methanogenic group.