The aim of this research was the development of a procedure to measure biological kinetics of organic matter oxidation and nitrification in constructed wetland, by using respirometric techniques. Columns simulating cores of vertical subsurface flow systems were investigated. The oxygen uptake rate (OUR) of the columns was calculated on the basis of the difference of DO concentrations measured continuously at the top and at the bottom of the column. From the respirogram, the following kinetic parameters have been evaluated: maximum rate of oxidation of readily biodegradable COD, maximum rate of nitrification, endogenous respiration of the biomass grown inside the bed. In order to improve the interpretation of the respirograms, additional respirometric tests were carried out on the wetland columns by using pure substrates, such as acetate (carbon source) and ammonium (substrate for nitrification). The kinetic parameters obtained from respirograms can be useful for control and design of constructed wetlands or for improving nutrient and carbon mass balances.

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