Enhancing anaerobic digestion of complex organic waste with carbon-based conductive materials

Bioresour Technol. 2016 Nov:220:516-522. doi: 10.1016/j.biortech.2016.08.114. Epub 2016 Sep 1.


The aim of this work was to study the methanogenic metabolism of dog food, a food waste surrogate, in laboratory-scale reactors with different carbon-based conductive materials. Carbon cloth, carbon felt, and granular activated carbon all permitted higher organic loading rates and promoted faster recovery of soured reactors than the control reactors. Microbial community analysis revealed that specific and substantial enrichments of Sporanaerobacter and Methanosarcina were present on the carbon cloth surface. These results, and the known ability of Sporanaerobacter species to transfer electrons to elemental sulfur, suggest that Sporanaerobacter species can participate in direct interspecies electron transfer with Methanosarcina species when carbon cloth is available as an electron transfer mediator.

Keywords: Anaerobic digestion; Carbon-based conductive material; Direct interspecies electron transfer; Methanogenesis; Organic wastes.

MeSH terms

  • Anaerobiosis
  • Animals
  • Bacteria / metabolism
  • Bioreactors
  • Carbon / chemistry*
  • Carbon Fiber
  • Charcoal / chemistry
  • Dogs
  • Electric Conductivity*
  • Fatty Acids, Volatile / analysis
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Methane / biosynthesis
  • Organic Chemicals / analysis*
  • Waste Products*


  • Carbon Fiber
  • Fatty Acids, Volatile
  • Organic Chemicals
  • Waste Products
  • Charcoal
  • Carbon
  • Methane