Respirometric technique for determination of extant kinetic parameters describing biodegradation

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A batch respirometric test was developed to measure the response of activated sludge communities degrading low concentrations of organic chemicals. The low substrate concentrations used in the assay ensure that minimal changes occur in the physiological state of the degrading community. The estimated kinetic parameters are, therefore, extant, that is, representative of the existing condition of the biomass in the continuous bioreactor. Monte Carlo and sensitivity analyses were performed to verify the robustness of the technique for determining unique and accurate estimates of the parameters describing Monod and Andrews kinetics. Application of the technique to a laboratory-scale activated sludge system showed that kinetic parameter estimates were reproducible and independent of the substrate concentration within the range tested (0.2–4.0 mg/L as chemical oxygen demand [COD]). Low Ks values (<0.1 mg/L as COD) were measured by the assay for the biodegradation of phenol and 4-chlorophenol, both of which exhibited an inhibitory response (Andrews kinetics). The biodegradation of ethylene glycol, acrylamide, and acetate exhibited Monod kinetics.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: July 1, 1996

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  • Water Environment Research® (WER®) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

    Published as: Sewage Works Journal, 1928 - 1949; Sewage and Industrial Wastes, 1950 - 1959; Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 1959 - Oct 1989; Research Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, Nov 1989 - 1991; Water Environment Research, 1992 - present.
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