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Acidogenesis represents the second stage in the four stages of anaerobic digestion:

Anaerobic digestion is a complex biochemical process of biologically-mediated reactions by a consortia of microorganisms to convert organic compounds into methane and carbon dioxide. It is a stabilization process, producing odor, pathogens, and mass reduction.

Hydrolytic bacteria form a variety of reduced end-products from the fermentation of a given substrate. One fundamental question which arises, concerns the metabolic features which control carbon and electron flow to a given reduced end-product during pure culture, and mixed methanogenic cultures of hydrolytic bacteria. Thermoanaerobium brockii is a representative thermophilic, hydrolytic bacterium, which ferments glucose, via the Embden-Meyerhof Parnas Pathway. T. brockii is an atypical hetero-lactic acid bacterium because it forms molecular hydrogen (H2), in addition to lactic acid and ethanol. The reduced end-products of glucose fermentation are enzymatically-formed from pyruvate, via the following mechanisms: lactate by fructose 1-6 all-phosphate (F6P) activated lactate dehydrogenase; H2 by pyruvate ferredoxin oxidoreductase and hydrogenase; and ethanol via NADH- and NADPH-linked alcohol dehydrogenase [1] .

By its side, the acidogenic activity was found in the early 20th century, but it was not until mid-'60s that the engineering of phases separation was assumed in order to improve the stability and waste digesters treatment [2]. In this phase, complex molecules (carbohydrates, lipids, proteins) are depolymerized into soluble compounds by hydrolytic enzymes (cellulases, hemicelulases, amylases, lipases and proteases). The hydrolyzed compounds are fermented into volatile fatty acids (acetate, propionate, butyrate, and lactate), neutral compounds (ethanol, methanol), ammonia, hydrogen and carbon dioxide [3] [4] [5]

Acetogenesis is one of the main reactions of this stage, in this, the intermediary metabolites produced are metabolized to acetate, hydrogen and carbonic gas by the three main groups of bacteria:

For the acetic acid production are considered three kind of bacteria:

Winter y Wolfe, in 1979, demonstrated that A. wodii in syntrophic association with Methanosarcina produce methane and carbon dioxide from fructose, instead of three molecules of acetate [6]. C. thermoaceticum and C. formiaceticum are able to reduce the carbonic gas to acetate, but they do not have hydrogenases which inhabilite the hydrogen use, so they can produce three molecules of acetate from fructose. Acetic acid is equally a co-metabolite of the organic substrates fermentation (sugars, glycerol, lactic acid, etc.) by diverse groups of microorganisms which produce different acids: *propionic bacteria (propionate + acetate);


  1. Marchaim, U. (1992). FAO Agricultural Services Bulletin – 95: Biogas process for sustainable development, FAO – Fodd and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, ISBN 92 – 5 – 103126,, (1/9/2003)
  2. Alexiou, I.E. and Panter, K. (2004). A review of two phase applications to define best practice for the treatment of various waste streams. Anaerobic Digestion 10th World Congress, Sept. 2004. Montreal, Quebec, Canada
  3. Cairó, J.J. and París, J.M. (1988). Microbiología de la digestión anaerobia, metanogénesis. 4o Seminario de Depuración Anaerobia de Aguas Residuales. Valladolid. F.F. Polanco, P.A. García y S. Hernándo. (Eds.) pp. 41-51
  4. Dinopolou, G., Rudd, T. and Lester, J.N. (1987). Anaerobic acidogenesis of a complex wastewater: I. The influence of operational parameters on reactor performance. Biotech. And Bioeng. 31: 958 – 968
  5. Laroche, M. (1983). Metabolisme intermediaire des acides gras volatils en fermentation methanique. These de Docteur – Ingenieur en Sciences Alimentaires_Fermentations. Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, France
  6. Winter, J.U. and Wolfe, R.S. (1979). Complete degradation of carbohydrates to CO2 and methane by syntrophic cultures of Acetobacterium woodii y Methanosarcina barkeri. Arch. Microbiol. 121: 97 – 102

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