Effect of sulfate on the anaerobic degradation of benzoate was investigated by using the chemostat-type reactors at 35°C. The benzoate concentrations were equivalent to 1250-10,000 mg.l-1 in COD (chemical oxygen demand) and the sulfate concentrations were equivalent to 167-1670 mg.l-1 in sulfur (S). Interactions between the methane-producing bacteria (MPB) and sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB) were dependent strongly on the ratio of COD/S in wastewater. The MPB consumed 99% of the available electron donors at COD/S ratio of 60, but consumed only 69% at ratio of 1.5, and 13% at 0.75. The biochemical reactions and the bacterial composition in the biomass were also governed by the COD/S ratio. At high COD/S ratios (3.0 or higher), benzoate was degraded mainly to methane via acetate and hydrogen/formate. The degradation of benzoate required the syntrophic association between the hydrogen-producing acetogens such as Syntrophus buswellii and hydrogen-consuming MPB, plus Methanothrix-like MPB. On the other hand, at low COD/S ratio (1.5 or lower), benzoate was consumed mainly by SRB, converting sulfate into sulfide and suppressing the methane production. The anaerobic degradation of benzoate was partially inhibited when sulfide concentration was high.
ASJC Scopus subject areas