New microbial electrosynthesis system for methane production from carbon dioxide coupled with oxidation of sulfide to sulfate

Akiyoshi Ohashi , Hiromi Kambara , Ha T.T. Dinh , Shuji Matsushita , Yoshiteru Aoi , Tomonori Kindaichi , Noriatsu Ozaki


Received December 08, 2021,Revised , Accepted February 18, 2022, Available online March 01, 2022

Volume 35,2023,Pages 786-797

Microbial electrosynthesis system (MES) is a promising method that can use carbon dioxide, which is a greenhouse gas, to produce methane which acts as an energy source, without using organic substances. However, this bioelectrical reduction reaction can proceed at a certain high applied voltage when coupled with water oxidation in the anode coated with metallic catalyst. When coupled with the oxidation of HS to SO42−, methane production is thermodynamically more feasible, thus implying its production at a considerably lower applied voltage. In this study, we demonstrated the possibility of electrotrophic methane production coupled with HS oxidation in a cost-effective bioanode chamber in the MES without organic substrates at a low applied voltage of 0.2 V. In addition, microbial community analyses of biomass enriched in the bioanode and biocathode were used to reveal the most probable pathway for methane production from HS oxidation. In the bioanode, electroautotrophic SO42− production accompanied with electron donation to the electrode is performed mainly by the following two steps: first, incomplete sulfide oxidation to sulfur cycle intermediates (SCI) is performed; then the produced SCI are disproportionated to HS and SO42−. In the biocathode, methane is produced mainly via H2 and acetate by electron-accepting syntrophic bacteria, homoacetogens, and acetoclastic archaea. Here, a new eco-friendly MES with biological H2S removal is established.

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