Efficient degradation of rice straw in the reactors packed by carbon fiber textiles.
We have reported for the first time that agricultural and cellulosic waste, i.e., rice straw was directly applied to methanogenic bioreactors containing carbon fiber textiles (CFT) as supporting material. Addition of CFT to the methanogenic bioreactors enhanced the conversion of dichromate chemical oxygen demand of the substrate to methane (41%) to a greater extent than bioreactors without CFT (9%). In addition, removal of rice straw as a suspended solid was increased from 31% (in bioreactors without CFT) to 57% (in those with CFT). Methanogenic 16S rRNA gene analysis showed that the abundance of acetoclastic methanogen, genus Methanosarcina, was about 11 times higher in bioreactors with CFT (suspended fraction plus retained fraction to CFT) than in bioreactors without CFT (suspended fraction), resulting in lower concentration of acetate in bioreactors with CFT (0.4 mM) than in those without CFT (29.7 mM). On the other hand, the abundance of hydrogenotrophic methanogen, genus Methanobacterium, in bioreactors with CFT was similar to those without CFT. Bacterial communities in bioreactors with CFT were different from those in bioreactors without CFT. Our results indicated that specific microbial community and cooperative relationships between microorganisms in reactors containing CFT facilitated efficient decomposition of rice straw and its conversion to methane.
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