Author(s): Koster IW, Cramer A
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Abstract The effect of four saturated long-chain fatty acids (caprylic, capric, lauric, and myristic) and one unsaturated long-chain fatty acid (oleic) on the microbial formation of methane from acetate was investigated in batch anaerobic toxicity assays. The tests were carried out with granular sludge from an upflow anaerobic sludge bed reactor. In this sludge, Methanothrix spp. are the predominant acetoclastic methanogens. Lauric acid appeared to be the most versatile inhibitor: inhibition started at 1.6 mM, and at 4.3 mM the maximum specific acetoclastic methanogenic activity had been reduced to 50\%. Caprylic acid appeared to be only slightly inhibitory. Oleic acid was almost as inhibitory as lauric acid. Although adsorption of the inhibitor on the cell wall might play an important role in the mechanism of inhibition, the inhibition was found to be correlated with concentration rather than with the amount per unit of biomass. In practical situations, as in anaerobic waste treatment processes, synergism can be expected to enhance the inhibition of methanogenesis. In the present research a background concentration of lauric acid below its MIC strongly enhanced the toxicity of capric acid and (to an even greater extent) myristic acid.
This article was published in Appl Environ Microbiol
and referenced in Journal of Bioremediation & Biodegradation