The two steps of nitrification, namely the oxidation of ammonia to nitrite and nitrite to nitrate, often need to be considered separately in process studies. It has been assumed that these two reactions can be described by single Monod models. In this paper, the suitability of the single Monod model for describing nitrite oxidation to nitrate is discussed. The measured rate of nitrate production during a batch reaction is presented. For the system studied it was found that nitrate production actually increased after the completion of ammonia oxidation. It is suggested that the reason for the increase was a combination of: (i) likely competition for oxygen when both substrates were present, and (ii) a decrease in ammonia inhibition of nitrite oxidisers with the removal of ammonia. The result is that a single Monod expression (based on nitrite as the substrate) could not be used to describe nitrate production. In these types of systems the consequence of oxygen limitation and substrate inhibition should also be considered.

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