Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 551179
Title Development of a bioelectrochemical system as a tool to enrich H2-producing syntrophic bacteria
Author(s) Guzman, Juan J.L.; Sousa, Diana Z.; Angenent, Largus T.
Source Frontiers in Microbiology 10 (2019)FEB. - ISSN 1664-302X
Department(s) MicPhys
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2019
Keyword(s) Bioelectrochemistry - Hydrogen - Methanogenic partner - Syntrophic bacterium - Syntrophus - Syntrophy

Syntrophic microbial partnerships are found in many environments and play critical roles in wastewater treatment, global nutrient cycles, and gut systems. An important type of syntrophy for the anaerobic conversion of carboxylic acids is H2 syntrophy. In this type of microbial partnership, dissolved H2 is produced by a bacterium and rapidly consumed by an archeon (methanogen), resulting in methane gas. This is referred to as interspecies H2 transfer, and some conversions rely on this mechanism to become thermodynamically feasible. For this reason, syntrophic partners are often not possible to separate in the lab, which hampers the full understanding of their physiology. Bioelectrochemical systems (BESs) may show promise to ultimately separate and study the behavior of the syntrophic bacterium by employing an abiotic H2 oxidation reaction at the anode, actively removing dissolved H2. Here, we performed a proof-of-concept study to ascertain whether an H2-removing anode can: (1) provide a growth advantage for the syntrophic bacterium; and (2) compete with the methanogenic partner. A mathematical model was developed to design a BES to perform competition experiments. Indeed, the operated BES demonstrated the ability to provide a growth advantage to the syntrophic bacterium Syntrophus aciditrophicus compared to its methanogenic partner Methanospirillum hungatei when grown in co-culture. Further, the BES provided the never-before isolated Syntrophomonas zehnderi with a growth advantage compared to Methanobacterium formicicum. Our results demonstrate a potential to use this BES to enrich H2-sensitive syntrophic bacteria, and gives prospects for the development of an effective method for the separation of obligate syntrophs.

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