The potential of K2FeO4 as a pretreatment agent of a lignocellulosic material was examined on leaves of Acer platanodides as the sole substrate for biogas production by anaerobic digestion carried out through modelling laboratory-scaled semi-continuous reactors differing in loading rates and substrate (pretreated and untreated leaves). The quality of bioagas produced by K2FeO4-pretreated leaves was significantly better in terms of higher methane content and lower content of H2S. K2FeO4 had no crucial influence on growth inhibition of biogas-producing bacteria, which were analysed by comprehensive culture-independent methods utilising high-throughput sequencing of specific genes [bacterial and archaeal 16S rRNA, formyltetrahydrofolate synthetase gene (fhs), methyl-coenzyme M reductase α subunit gene (mcrA) and fungal internal transcribed spacers (ITS)]. The higher amount of CH4 in biogas utilising pretreated leaves as substrate could be caused by a shift to acetoclastic methanogenesis pathway, which was indicated by the higher amount of homoacetogenic bacteria and acetotrophic methanogens detected in those reactors.
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