Laboratory scale bioreactor designs in the processes of methane bioconversion: Mini-review.

Affiliation

Tikhomirova TS(1), But SY(2).
Author information:
(1)Institute for Biological Instrumentation of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Federal Research Center «Pushchino Scientific Center for Biological Research of the Russian Academy of Sciences», Institutskaya 7, Pushchino, Moscow Region 142290, Russia. Electronic address: [Email]
(2)G.K. Skryabin Institute of Biochemistry and Physiology of Microorganisms of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Federal Research Center «Pushchino Scientific Center for Biological Research of the Russian Academy of Sciences», Prospect Nauki 5, Pushchino, Moscow Region 142290, Russia.

Abstract

Global methane emissions have been steadily increasing over the past few decades, exerting a negative effect on the environment. Biogas from landfills and sewage treatment plants is the main anthropogenic source of methane. This makes methane bioconversion one of the priority areas of biotechnology. This process involves the production of biochemical compounds from non-food sources through microbiological synthesis. Methanotrophic bacteria are a promising tool for methane bioconversion due to their ability to use this greenhouse gas and to produce protein-rich biomass, as well as a broad range of useful organic compounds. Currently, methane is used not only to produce biomass and chemical compounds, but also to increase the efficiency of water and solid waste treatment. However, the use of gaseous substrates in biotechnological processes is associated with some difficulties. The low solubility of methane in water is one of the major problems. Different approaches have been involved to encounter these challenges, including different bioreactor and gas distribution designs, solid carriers and bulk sorbents, as well as varying air/oxygen supply, the ratio of volumetric flow rate of gas mixture to its consumption rate, etc. The aim of this review was to summarize the current data on different bioreactor designs and the aspects of their applications for methane bioconversion and wastewater treatment. The bioreactors used in these processes must meet a number of requirements such as low methane emission, improved gas exchange surface, and controlled substrate supply to the reaction zone.