Assessing main process mechanism and rates of sulfate reduction by granular biomass fed with glycerol under sulfidogenic conditions

X. Zhou, E. Fernández-Palacios, A.D. Dorado, X. Gamisans, D. Gabriel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Sulfate-reducing bioreactors for sulfide production are the initial stage of processes targeting elemental sulfur recovery from sulfate-rich effluents. In this work, the principal reactions involved in glycerol fermentation and sulfate reduction using glycerol and its fermentation products as electron donors were assessed together with their specific consumption/production rates. A battery of batch activity tests with and without sulfate were performed with glycerol and with each fermentation product using a non-methanogenic but sulfidogenic granular sludge from an up-flow anaerobic sludge blanket (UASB) reactor operated under long-term while fed with crude glycerol. As a result, a mechanistic approach based on the experimental observations is proposed in this work. Glycerol was mainly fermented to 1,3-propanediol, ethanol, formate, propionate and acetate by fermentative bacteria. All organic intermediates were found to be further used by sulfate reducing bacteria (SRB) for sulfate reduction except for acetate. The most abundant genus detected under sulfidogenic conditions were Propionispora (15.2%), Dysgonomonas (13.2%), Desulfobulbus (11.6%) and Desulfovibrio (10.8%). The last two SRB genera accounted for 22.4% of the total amount of retrieved sequences, which were probably performing an incomplete oxidation of the carbon source in the sulfidogenic UASB reactor. As single substrates, specific sulfate reduction rates (SRRs) using low molecular weight (MW) carbon sources (formate and ethanol) were 39% higher than those using high-MW ones (propionate, 1,3-propanediol and butanol). However, SRRs in glycerol-fed tests showed that 1,3-propanediol played a major role in sulfate reduction in addition to formate and ethanol.

Original languageEnglish
Article number131649
Number of pages11
Issue numberPt 1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022


  • Activity tests
  • Biomass
  • Bioreactors
  • Glycerol
  • Glycerol fermentation
  • Intermediate products
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Sewage
  • Sulfate-reduction mechanism
  • Sulfates
  • UASB
  • Waste Disposal, Fluid


Dive into the research topics of 'Assessing main process mechanism and rates of sulfate reduction by granular biomass fed with glycerol under sulfidogenic conditions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this