Thermophilic Anaerobic Oxidation of Butyrate in Axenic Culture

  • Birgitte Ahring
  • Peter Westermann
  • R. A. Mah
Part of the Federation of European Microbiological Societies Symposium Series book series (FEMS, volume 54)


Normally, propionate and butyrate account for approximately 20% of the methane produced in an anaerobic digestion. The degradation of these volatile fatty acids involves at least two groups of bacteria, the obligately hydrogen-producing acetogenic bacteria oxidizing the acids and the methane-producing bacteria utilizing the hydrogen produced (for a review see reference 1). Owing to the unfavorable thermodynamics of fatty acid oxidation under standard conditions, the metabolism of the acetogenic bacteria demands a low partial pressure of hydrogen normally maintained by the hydrogen — utilizing methanogenic bacteria.


Anaerobic Digestion Volatile Fatty Acid Axenic Culture Methanogenic Bacterium Acetogenic Bacterium 
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References é

  1. . R.A. Mah. Methanogenesis and methanogenic partnerships. Philos. Trans. R. Soc. London Ser. B. 297: 599 - 616. (1982).Google Scholar
  2. H.F. Kaspar, AJ. Holland and D.O. Mountfort. Simultaneous butyrate oxidation by Syntrophomonas wolfei and catalytic olefin reduction in absence of interspecies hydrogen transfer. Arch. Microbiol. 147: 334 - 339. (1987).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. B.K. Ahring and P. Westermann. Thermophilic anaerobic degradation of butyrate by a butyrate - utilizing bacterium in coculture and triculture with methanogenic bacteria. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 53: 429 - 433. (1987).PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. . B.K. Ahring and P. Westermann. Kinetics of butyrate, acetate, and hydrogen metabolism in a thermophilic, anaerobic, butyrate-degrading coculture. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 53: 434 - 439. (1987).PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. B.K. Ahring and P. Westermann. Product inhibition of butyrate metabolism by acetate and hydrogen in a thermophilic coculture. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 54: 2393 - 2397. (1988).PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag US 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Birgitte Ahring
    • 1
  • Peter Westermann
    • 2
  • R. A. Mah
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of BiotechnologyThe Technical University of DenmarkLyngbyDenmark
  2. 2.Department of General MicrobiologyUniversity of CopenhagenLyngbyDenmark
  3. 3.School of Public HealthLos AngelesUSA

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