A study was conducted to analyze the effects of cyanide on methanogenic bacterial populations in both continuous and batch reactors. The appropriate toxicity assays were divided into two parts, i.e. 1) batch assays, and 2) continuous flow assays, using a 6.5-litre up-stream anaerobic sludge blanket reactor (UASB). A synthetic substrate was used as feed for both assays using 99% sucrose as a carbon source, and potassium cyanide (KCN) as a free cyanide source. In the first part, the treatments with the lowest and highest percentages of Specific Methanogenic Activity (SMA %) were 3 and 10 mg CN/l. A 0.96 mg/l concentration of cyanide caused methanogenic activity inhibition by 50% during the exposure stage. During the recovery stage, Methanogenic Activity of treatments had a considerable increase compared to the results from direct cyanide exposure, except for treatments of 7 and 10 mg CN/l. The concentration of cyanide that inhibits Specific Methanogenic Activity by 50% was 6.1 mg CN/l during this stage. In the second part, the reactor was continuously fed with a synthetic substrate (COD≈ 1500 mg/l). After the anaerobic sludge became acclimated, cyanide concentrations from 0.5 and 130 mg CN/l were progressively added. The hydraulic retention time remained constant at 12 hours throughout the entire experiment. Results indicated that while partial inhibition occurred for concentrations of 3, 20 and 100 mg CN/l, severe inhibition occurred for 130 mg CN/l.

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