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The role of bacterial interaction is vital to control bacterial functions; however, it has not been fully understood in microbial consortia (including anaerobic digestion). In this study, fluorouracil (FU), which is an anticancer agent and a quorum sensing (QS) inhibitor to some of the Gram-negative bacteria was found to inhibit methane production from sewage sludge under anaerobic conditions, as shown in a result where methane production in the presence of FU was eight times lower than the control (sewage sludge without FU). Whereas FU did not influence the hydrolysis process, in the acidogenesis/acetogenesis process, butyrate, and acetate accumulated in samples with FU. Also, in the methanogenesis process, FU remarkably inhibited methane production by acetoclastic methanogens rather than by the hydrogenotrophic ones. This result agreed with the result that growth and methane production of Methanosarcina acetivorans C2A was inhibited in the presence of FU. However, the inhibitory effect of FU was high in the condition that both bacteria and archaea were active. It indicates that FU influences methanogens and bacteria in the process of methane fermentation. The analyses of microbial communities (bacteria and archaea) showed that the abundance ratio of the Firmicutes phyla is high, and hydrogenotrophic methanogens become dominant in the presence of FU. Conversely, the abundance of Spirochaetes significantly decreased under FU. The inhibition of methane production by FU was due to the growth inhibition of methanogenic archaea and the changes in the composition of the bacterial population. Copyright © 2022 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Yuki Hoshiko, Ryutaro Hirano, Nurul Asyifah Mustapha, Phuong Dong Thi Nguyen, Shuto Fujie, Viviana Sanchez-Torres, Toshinari Maeda. Impact of 5-fluorouracil on anaerobic digestion using sewage sludge. Chemosphere. 2022 Jul;298:134253

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PMID: 35292276

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