Effect of cobalt on the anaerobic degradation of methanol

Lourdinha Florencio, Pavel Jeniček, Jim A. Field, Gatze Lettinga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


The effect of trace elements on the methanogenesis from methanol and acetate was studied utilizing granular sludge obtained from an anaerobic wastewater treatment plant. The methanogenic activity from methanol was dramatically stimulated by the addition of a cocktail of trace elements in the basal medium. When trace elements were supplied individually, cobalt greatly stimulated methanogenesis which equalled the stimulation observed with the complete trace element mixture. No remarkable influence of any trace element was observed when acetate was used as the substrate. Two Upflow Anaerobic Sludge Blanket (UASB) reactors were operated with and without supplementation of cobalt. Cobalt greatly stimulated both acetogenesis in the initial operational phase and later methanogenesis. The cobalt sufficient column provided almost 3 times the methane productivity compared to the cobalt deprived column. At an organic loading rate of 8 g COD/l·d, 87% of the COD was converted to methane in the cobalt sufficient column. Under low cobalt concentration, methanogens compete better for cobalt than acetogens.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)368-374
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Fermentation and Bioengineering
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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