Denitrifying activities and nitrous oxide (N2O) emission during denitrification can be affected by copper concentrations. Different denitrifiers were acclimated in sequencing batch reactors with acetate or methanol as the electron donor and nitrate as the electron acceptor. The effect of copper concentrations on the denitrifying activity and N2O emission for the acclimated denitrifiers was examined in batch experiments. Denitrifying activities of the acclimated denitrifiers declined with increasing copper concentrations, and the copper concentration exhibited a higher effect on denitrifiers acclimated with acetate than those acclimated with methanol. Compared with the control without the addition of copper, at the copper concentration of 1 mg/L, the acetate utilization rate reduced by 89% for acetate-acclimated denitrifiers, while the methanol utilization rate only reduced by 15% for methanol-acclimated denitrifiers. Copper also had different effects on N2O emission during denitrification carried out by various types of denitrifiers. For the acetate-acclimated denitrifiers, N2O emission initially increased and then decreased with increasing copper concentrations, while for the methanol-acclimated denitrifiers, N2O emission decreased with increasing copper concentrations.

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