Hypoxic methane oxidation coupled to denitrification in a membrane biofilm

Wael Alrashed, Jangho Lee, Joonhong Park, Bruce E. Rittmann, Youneng Tang, Josh D. Neufeld, Hyung Sool Lee

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28 Citations (Scopus)


Methane oxidation coupled to denitrification (MOD) was tested in a membrane biofilm reactor (MBfR) using methane gas as the sole electron donor. Nitrate reduction to nitrite was rate limiting, and CH4 was present in the effluent. Slow kinetics of methane oxidation by bacteria were the factors that led to slow kinetics and incomplete removals. Methylocystaceae contained the largest fraction (21%) of bacterial SSU rRNA genes, and Archaea were nearly absent. The functional metagenome included all the genes essential for aerobic methane oxidation (pmo, mdh, mtdB, folD, and fdh) and nitrate reduction to dinitrogen (nap/nar, nir, nor and nos), but not for reverse methanogenesis (mcr). The functional metagenome supports that Methylocystaceae conducted MOD in syntrophy with heterotrophic denitrifiers (e.g., Comamonadaceae and Brucellaceae), suggesting aerobic MOD. DO measurements, serum-bottle tests, and calculation of O2 permeation bolster hypoxically aerobic MOD would mainly account for denitrification in the MBfR.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)745-753
Number of pages9
JournalChemical Engineering Journal
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Sep 15

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was financially supported by Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada ( STPGP 478972 ) and the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant ( NRF-2016K1A3A1A12953714 ).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Elsevier B.V.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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