Response of methanogen populations to organic load increase during anaerobic digestion of olive mill wastewater

Aurora Rizzi, Mauro Zucchi, Sara Borin, Massimo Marzorati, Claudia Sorlini, Daniele Daffonchio*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Process performances of an upflow anaerobic filter treating olive mill wastewater and the response of methanogenic Archaea to increasing volumetric organic load (VOL) were studied. At a VOL of 15 g chemical oxygen demand (COD) L-1 day-1, 90% of the infiuent COD was removed. Following a VOL increase from 6 to 15 g COD L-1 day-1, the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) titre of hydrogenotrophic Methanobacterium, determined by magnetic capture of the target DNA and group-specific PCR based on the 16S rRNA gene, decreased from 1011 to 108 cells g-1 sludge, while that of Methanomicrobiaceae and relatives increased from 104 to 106 cells g-1 sludge. Methanosaeta-like acetoclastic methanogens were less affected by VOL variation and dominated at high VOL with a 16S rRNA gene PCR titre of 109 cells g-1 sludge. Single-strand conformation polymorphism analysis of the PCR-amplified archaeal 16S rRNA gene showed a stable band pattern, indicating that VOL variation affected the methanogen PCR titre but not the archaeal community structure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1556-1562
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Chemical Technology and Biotechnology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2006


  • Anaerobic digestion
  • Methanogens
  • Olive mill wastewater
  • Organic load
  • PCR monitoring
  • SSCP

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Bioengineering
  • General Chemistry


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