The observed acclimatisation to biodegradable toxicants in anaerobic cassava wastewater treatment is explained by modelling anaerobic cyanide degradation. A complete degradation pathway is proposed for cyanide. Cyanide degradation is modelled as enzymatic hydrolysis to formate and ammonia. Ammonia is added to the inorganic nitrogen content of the digester while formate is degraded by the hydrogenotrophic methanogens. Cyanide irreversible enzyme inhibition is modelled as an inhibition factor to acetate uptake processes. Cyanide irreversible toxicity is modelled as a decay factor to the acetate degraders. Cyanide as well as added phosphorus buffer solution were considered in the chemical equilibrium calculations of pH. The observed reversible effect after acclimatisation of sludge is modelled by a population shift between two aceticlastic methanogens that have different tolerance to cyanide toxicity. The proposed pathway is added to the IWA Anaerobic Digestion Model no.1 (ADM1). The ADM1 model with the designed extension is validated by an experiment using three lab-scale upflow anaerobic sludge bed reactors which were exposed to different cyanide loadings.

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