Methanobacterium Dominates Biocathodic Archaeal Communities in Methanogenic Microbial Electrolysis Cells
KAUST Grant NumberKUS-I1-003-13
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Abstract© 2015 American Chemical Society. Methane is the primary end product from cathodic current in microbial electrolysis cells (MECs) in the absence of methanogenic inhibitors, but little is known about the archaeal communities that develop in these systems. MECs containing cathodes made from different materials (carbon brushes, or plain graphite blocks or blocks coated with carbon black and platinum, stainless steel, nickel, ferrihydrite, magnetite, iron sulfide, or molybdenum disulfide) were inoculated with anaerobic digester sludge and acclimated at a set potential of -600 mV (versus a standard hydrogen electrode). The archaeal communities on all cathodes, except those coated with platinum, were predominated by Methanobacterium (median 97% of archaea). Cathodes with platinum contained mainly archaea most similar to Methanobrevibacter. Neither of these methanogens were abundant (<0.1% of archaea) in the inoculum, and therefore their high abundance on the cathode resulted from selective enrichment. In contrast, bacterial communities on the cathode were more diverse, containing primarily δ-Proteobacteria (41% of bacteria). The lack of a consistent bacterial genus on the cathodes indicated that there was no similarly selective enrichment of bacteria on the cathode. These results suggest that the genus Methanobacterium was primarily responsible for methane production in MECs when cathodes lack efficient catalysts for hydrogen gas evolution. (Figure Presented).
CitationSiegert M, Yates MD, Spormann AM, Logan BE (2015) Methanobacterium Dominates Biocathodic Archaeal Communities in Methanogenic Microbial Electrolysis Cells . ACS Sustainable Chem Eng 3: 1668–1676. Available: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acssuschemeng.5b00367.
SponsorsWe thank Ivan Ivanov for fruitful discussions and John Cantolina of the Penn State Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences for assistance with SEM imaging. This research was supported by the Global Climate and Energy Program (GCEP) and by the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST, award KUS-I1-003-13).
PublisherAmerican Chemical Society (ACS)