Benzene, toluene and xylene (BTX) are relatively soluble aromatic compounds of gasoline. Gasoline storage tank leakages generally lead to an extensive contamination of groundwater. In the natural environment for instance, these compounds might be biodegraded under a variety of reducing potentials. The objective of this work was to examine the influence of the addition of sulphate and Fe(OH)3 in a methanogenic horizontal-flow anaerobic immobilized-biomass reactor treating gasoline-contaminated water. Three different conditions were evaluated: methanogenic, sulphidogenic and sulphidogenic with the addition of ferric ions. Methanogenic condition showed the higher BTX degradation rates and the addition of sulphate negatively affected BTX removal rates with the production of H2S. However, the addition of ferric ions resulted in the precipitation of sulphur, improving BTX degradation by the consortium. Metanosphaera sp., Methanosarcina barkeri and Methanosaeta concilii were identified in the consortium by means of 16S and directly related to the addition of ferric ions.

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