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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 482653, 7 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/482653
Research Article

Improvement of Biogas Production by Bioaugmentation

1Department of Biotechnology, University of Szeged, Szeged 6726, Hungary
2Institute of Biophysics, Biological Research Center, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Kozep Fasor 52, Szeged 6726, Hungary

Received 1 August 2012; Accepted 19 November 2012

Academic Editor: Alane Beatriz Vermelho

Copyright © 2013 K. L. Kovács et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Biogas production technologies commonly involve the use of natural anaerobic consortia of microbes. The objective of this study was to elucidate the importance of hydrogen in this complex microbial food chain. Novel laboratory biogas reactor prototypes were designed and constructed. The fates of pure hydrogen-producing cultures of Caldicellulosiruptor saccharolyticus and Enterobacter cloacae were followed in time in thermophilic and mesophilic natural biogas-producing communities, respectively. Molecular biological techniques were applied to study the altered ecosystems. A systematic study in 5-litre CSTR digesters revealed that a key fermentation parameter in the maintenance of an altered population balance is the loading rate of total organic solids. Intensification of the biogas production was observed and the results corroborate that the enhanced biogas productivity is associated with the increased abundance of the hydrogen producers. Fermentation parameters did not indicate signs of failure in the biogas production process. Rational construction of more efficient and sustainable biogas-producing microbial consortia is proposed.