Evidence of syntrophic acetate oxidation by Spirochaetes during anaerobic methane production

Sang Hoon Lee, Jeong Hoon Park, Sang Hyoun Kim, Byung Jo Yu, Jeong Jun Yoon, Hee Deung Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Citations (Scopus)


To search for evidence of syntrophic acetate oxidation by cluster II Spirochaetes with hydrogenotrophic methanogens, batch reactors seeded with five different anaerobic sludge samples supplemented with acetate as the sole carbon source were operated anaerobically. The changes in abundance of the cluster II Spirochaetes, two groups of acetoclastic methanogens (Methanosaetaceae and Methanosarcinaceae), and two groups of hydrogenotrophic methanogens (Methanomicrobiales and Methanobacteriales) in the reactors were assessed using qPCR targeting the 16S rRNA genes of each group. Increase in the cluster II Spirochaetes (9.0 ± 0.4-fold) was positively correlated with increase in hydrogenotrophic methanogens, especially Methanomicrobiales (5.6 ± 1.0-fold), but not with acetoclastic methanogens. In addition, the activity of the cluster II Spirochaetes decreased (4.6 ± 0.1-fold) in response to high hydrogen partial pressure, but their activity was restored after consumption of hydrogen by the hydrogenotrophic methanogens. These results strongly suggest that the cluster II Spirochaetes are involved in syntrophic acetate oxidation in anaerobic digesters.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)543-549
Number of pages7
JournalBioresource technology
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Aug 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded by the Korea Ministry of Environment (Projects for Developing Eco-Innovation Technologies: GT-11-B-02-003-3 ) and by the National Research Foundation of Korea ( NRF-2013R1A1A2060817 ).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Elsevier Ltd.


  • Anaerobic digester
  • Methanogen
  • Spirochaetes
  • Syntrophic acetate oxidation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Waste Management and Disposal


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