Applied microbiology and biotechnology

The role of paraffin oil on the interaction between denitrifying anaerobic methane oxidation and Anammox processes.

PMID 26036704


Methane is sparingly soluble in water, resulting in a slow reaction rate in the denitrifying anaerobic methane oxidation (DAMO) process. The slow rate limits the feasibility of research to examine the interaction between the DAMO and the anaerobic ammonium oxidation (Anammox) process. In this study, optimized 5 % (v/v) paraffin oil was added as a second liquid phase to improve methane solubility in a reactor containing DAMO and Anammox microbes. After just addition, methane solubility was found to increase by 25 % and DAMO activity was enhanced. After a 100-day cultivation, the paraffin reactor showed almost two times higher consumption rates of NO3 (-) (0.2268 mmol/day) and NH4 (+) (0.1403 mmol/day), compared to the control reactor without paraffin oil. The microbes tended to distribute in the oil-water interface. The quantitative (q) PCR result showed the abundance of gene copies of DAMO archaea, DAMO bacteria, and Anammox bacteria in the paraffin reactor were higher than those in the control reactor after 1 month. Fluorescence in situ hybridization revealed that the percentages of the three microbes were 55.5 and 77.6 % in the control and paraffin reactors after 100 days, respectively. A simple model of mass balance was developed to describe the interactions between DAMO and Anammox microbes and validate the activity results. A mechanism was proposed to describe the possible way that paraffin oil enhanced DAMO activity. It is quite clear that paraffin oil enhances not only DAMO activity but also Anammox activity via the interaction between them; both NO3 (-) and NH4 (+) consumption rates were about two times those of the control.