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Anaerobe. 2004 Feb;10(1):13-8.

Effect of ammonia on the methanogenic activity of methylaminotrophic methane producing Archaea enriched biofilm.

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Departamento de Microbiología, Facultad de Ciencias Biológicas, Universidad de Concepción, PO Box 160-C, Concepcion, Chile.


Ammonia is a metabolic product in the decomposition of protein wastes, and has a recognized inhibitory effect on methanogenesis; this effect has been slightly quantified on methanogenic biofilms and particularly those populated by methanogenic Archaea which produce ammonia as a catabolic product from methylated amines. This paper presents studies on the effect of ammonia on maximum methanogenic activity of anaerobic biofilms enriched by methylaminotrophic methane producing Archaea (mMPA). The effect of unionized free ammonia on the specific maximum methanogenic activity of a mMPA enriched biofilm was studied, using 250 mL flasks containing ceramic rings colonized by 30 day-old experimental biofilm and adding 48.8 (control system), 73.8, 98.8, 148.8, 248.8, 448.8 and 848.8 mg NH(3)-N/L. The systems were maintained for ten days at a pH of 7.5 and temperature of 37 degrees C. The results showed that at 848.8 mg NH(3)-N/L, biofilm methane production required 36 h adaptation period, prior to entering into maximum production phase. The highest maximum methanogenic activity reached a value of 2.337+/-0.213 g COD methane/g VSS *day when 48.8 mg NH(3)-N/L was added, and inhibition was clearly observed in those systems above 148.8 mg NH(3)-N/L, producing under 1.658+/-0.185 g COD methane/g VSS *day. The lowest methanogenic activity reached was 0.639+/-0.162 g COD methane/g VSS *day at the system added with 848.8 mg NH(3)-N/L. When applying the Luong and non-competitive inhibition models, the best fit was obtained with the non-competitive model, which predicted 50% inhibition of methanogenic activity at 365.288 mg NH(3)-N/L.

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