Magnetite-based nanoparticles and nanocomposites for recovery of overloaded anaerobic digesters

Raquel Barrena, María del Carmen Vargas-García, Paula Catacora-Padilla, Teresa Gea, Ahmad Abo Markeb, Javier Moral-Vico, Antoni Sánchez, Xavier Font, Thomas J. Aspray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
31 Downloads (Pure)


The effect of magnetite nanoparticles and nanocomposites (magnetite nanoparticles impregnated into graphene oxide) supplement on the recovery of overloaded laboratory batch anaerobic reactors was assessed using two types of starting inoculum: anaerobic granular sludge (GS) and flocculent sludge (FS). Both nanomaterials recovered methane production at a dose of 0.27 g L-1 within 40 days in GS. Four doses of magnetite nanoparticles from 0.075 to 1 g L-1 recovered the process in FS systems between 30-50 days relaying on the dose. The presence of nanomaterials helped to reverse the effect of volatile fatty acids inhibition and enabled microbial communities to recover but also favoured the development of certain microorganisms over others. In GS reactors, the methanogenic population changed from being mostly acetoclastic (Methanothrix soehngenii) to being dominated by hydrogenotrophic species (Methanobacterium beijingense). Nanomaterial amendment may serve as a preventative measure or provide an effective remedial solution for system recovery following overloading.
Original languageEnglish
Article number128632
JournalBioresource Technology
Early online date16 Jan 2023
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023


  • Flocculent sludge
  • Granular sludge
  • Hydrogenotrophic methanogens
  • Iron-oxide nanoparticles
  • VFA inhibition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Waste Management and Disposal


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