TTC and INT-electron transport system activity tests were compared for assessing heavy metal inhibition of activated sludge. The median inhibitory concentrations (IC50s) of Cu2+, Zn2+, Cd2+, Hg2+, Ni2+, Pb2+ and Ag+ measured via TTC test were lower than those measured via INT test, which indicates that the INT-electron transport system activity test was less sensitive to heavy metal toxicity than the TTC test. Tested heavy metals brought about similar decrease in TTC-electron transport system activity and COD removal rate, but less decrease in INT-electron transport system activity than COD removal rate, which suggests that the TTC-electron transport system activity is a better parameter for reflecting heavy metal inhibition of activated sludge than INT-electron transport system activity. The ranking of tested heavy metals in order of decreasing toxicity based on TTC test was Hg2+, Cd2+, Cu2+, Ag+, Zn2+, Ni2+ and Pb2+, and the ranking based on INT test was Hg2+, Ag+, Cu2+, Cd2+, Zn2+, Ni2+ and Pb2+.

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