Microbial processes and bacterial populations associated to anaerobic treatment of sulfate-rich wastewater
A pilot-scale (1.2 m3) anaerobic sequencing batch biofilm reactor (ASBBR) containing mineral coal for biomass attachment was fed with sulfate-rich wastewater at increasing sulfate concentrations. Ethanol was used as the main organic source. Tested COD/sulfate ratios were of 1.8 and 1.5 for sulfate loading rates of 0.65–1.90 kgSO42−/cycle (48 h-cycle) or of 1.0 in the trial with 3.0 gSO42− l−1. Sulfate removal efficiencies observed in all trials were as high as 99%. Molecular inventories indicated a shift on the microbial composition and a decrease on species diversity with the increase of sulfate concentration. Beta-proteobacteria species affiliated with Aminomonas spp. and Thermanaerovibrio spp. predominated at 1.0 gSO42− l−1. At higher sulfate concentrations the predominant bacterial group was Delta-proteobacteria mainly Desulfovibrio spp. and Desulfomicrobium spp. at 2.0 gSO42− l−1, whereas Desulfurella spp. and Coprothermobacter spp. predominated at 3.0 gSO42− l−1. These organisms have been commonly associated with sulfate reduction producing acetate, sulfide and sulfur. Methanogenic archaea (Methanosaeta spp.) was found at 1.0 and 2.0 gSO42− l−1. Additionally, a simplified mathematical model was used to infer on metabolic pathways of the biomass involved in sulfate reduction.
Journal: Process Biochemistry - Volume 45, Issue 2, February 2010, Pages 164–170