Metabolic effects of Fe0 on simultaneously eliminating excessive acidification and upgrading biogas in mesophilic or thermophilic anaerobic reactor

Xin Kong*, Qingxia Li, Wenjing Zhang, Jianan Niu, Song Wang, Jianguo Liu, Jin Yuan, Xiuping Yue, Yili Liu, Yifeng Zhang*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Excessive acidification and low methane (CH4) percentage are technical challenges restricting anaerobic digestion (AD) of kitchen waste, especially under high organic loading rate (OLR) conditions. Although the contribution of Fe0 powder to excessive acidification elimination and CH4 yield improvement in mesophilic AD (MAD) has been extensively reported, its impact on the thermophilic AD (TAD) process with more frequent excessive acidification problem is rarely studied. Moreover, the difference in microbial interactions and metabolic pathways between MAD and TAD reactors under Fe0 regulation was still unclear. In this study, we compared the performance of Fe0 dosing on excessive acidification elimination and biogas upgrading quality in both MAD and TAD reactors at different OLRs. The results showed that compared with excessive acidification or low CH4 percentage (less than 70%) in control reactors without Fe0 addition, the CH4 yield of MAD and TAD reactors with addition of Fe0 at OLR of 35 gVS/L were 470.88 mLCH4/gVS and 270.40 mLCH4/gVS, with higher CH4 composition of 81.32%–82.23% and 83.68%–88.48% respectively. Microbial diversity analysis showed a sharp distinction between MAD and TAD reactors with addition of Fe0. Analyses of co-occurrence networks and metabolic pathway presented hydrogenotrophic methanogenic pathway, in addition to acetoclastic methanogenesis, was dominant in MAD reactors as results of enhanced interspecies hydrogen transfer between Methanoculleus and some hydrogen producers, especially under high OLR condition. In contrast, syntrophilic acetate oxidization - hydrogenotrophic methanogenesis, which dominated by Methanothermobacter and Alkaliphilus or Pelotomaculum, was the sole methanogenic pathway in TAD reactors. The results will shed lights on the regulation mechanisms of Fe0 in AD of kitchen waste under mesophilic and thermophilic conditions, offering new insight into development of more efficient waste to energy conversion technologies.
Original languageEnglish
Article number136079
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

This work was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant number:51908396), the National Key R&D Program Project (2019YFC0408602), the Science and Technology Innovation Major Project of Ningbo, Zhejiang Province of China (Grant number: 2018B10023), the China Scholarship Council (CSC 20200814141), and Natural Science Basic Research Program of Shaanxi (2020JQ-374).


  • Anaerobic digestion
  • Fe0
  • Kitchen waste
  • Methanogenic pathway
  • Mesophilic
  • Thermophilic


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