Trace metals are known to stimulate the activity of anaerobic methanogenic bacteria involved in the degradation of organic matter. The objective of this research was to investigate the effect of three trace metals, iron, nickel and cobalt on the activity of halophilic methanogens, digester sludge and a mixed culture of halophilic bacteria and digester sludge, at various salt concentrations. Iron slightly stimulated both initial and maximum specific methanogenic activity (SMA) of halophilic methanogens at all salt concentrations. Iron addition was also able to increase both initial and maximum SMA of the mixed culture. Iron could not stimulate either initial or maximum SMA of digester sludge at salt concentrations of more than 10 g/L. Adding cobalt showed no benefit on the initial and maximum SMA of halophilic methanogens. A slight increase in the initial SMA was observed in mixed culture when cobalt was injected to the system containing sodium concentrations of 10-30 g/L. At salt concentrations above 40 g/L, cobalt could stimulate the maximum SMA of mixed culture. No benefits were found when cobalt was added to the digester sludge at sodium concentrations higher than 20 g/L. Nickel was observed to increase the initial SMA of digester sludge at all salt concentrations, and the maximum SMA of mixed culture at salt concentrations of 30-50 g/L.tions of 30-50 g/L.
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