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Bioresour Technol. 2013 Dec;150:387-92. doi: 10.1016/j.biortech.2013.10.030. Epub 2013 Oct 16.

Enhancing methane production during the anaerobic digestion of crude glycerol using Japanese cedar charcoal.

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Laboratory of Sustainable Environmental Biology, Graduate School of Agricultural Science, Tohoku University, Yomogida 232-3, Naruko-onsen, Osaki, Miyagi 989-6711, Japan; Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Tohoku University, 6-6-06 Aoba, Sendai, Miyagi 980-8579, Japan.


The use of Japanese cedar charcoal as a support material for microbial attachment could enhance methane production during anaerobic digestion of crude glycerol and wastewater sludge. Methane yield from a charcoal-containing reactor was approximately 1.6 times higher than that from a reactor without charcoal, and methane production was stable over 50 days when the loading rate was 2.17 g chemical oxygen demand (COD) L(-1) d(-1). Examination of microbial communities on the charcoal revealed the presence of Uncultured Desulfovibrio sp. clone V29 and Pelobacter seleniigenes, known as 1,3-propandiol degraders. Hydrogenotrophic methanogens were also detected in the archaeal community on the charcoal. Methanosaeta, Methanoregula, and Methanocellus were present in the charcoal-containing reactor. The concentration of propionate in the charcoal-containing reactor was also lower than that in the control reactor. These results suggest that propionate degradation was enhanced by the consumption of hydrogen by hydrogenotrophic methanogens on the charcoal.


Anaerobic digestion; Charcoal; Glycerol; Methane; Microbial community

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