Abstract

When applying partial nitritation (PN) to anaerobically pre-treated sewage, ammonium oxidizing bacteria (AOB) and nitrite oxidizing bacteria (NOB) will be exposed to dissolved sulfide and methane. Both sulfide and methane may inhibit nitrification. To gain knowledge necessary for sustaining PN under these conditions, we exposed an AOB enrichment and a mixed nitrifying culture to dissolved sulfide and methane. In the mixed nitrifying culture, sulfide selectively inhibited NOB activity (KI,AOB1 = 150 mg-S L−1, KI,NOB = 10 mg-S L–1) which shows that sulfide may help establish PN. The AOB enrichment showed similar KI,AOB2 (130 mg-S L–1), but nitritation activity lagged longer than the time necessary to remove sulfide from the liquid. This demonstrates that feeding of sulfide into established PN should be avoided. Methane inhibition of AOB enrichment was assessed in batch assays with 10 mg-CH4 L−1. As compared to control without methane, AOB enrichment activity was identical. Up to 51% of methane was converted to methanol, thus reducing the greenhouse gas emissions.

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