Determination of Growth Rate and Yield of Nitrifying Bacteria by Measuring Carbon Dioxide Uptake Rate

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Nitrifier growth parameters—the maximum growth rate (μ Amax ) and yield ( Y A )—were estimated by measuring the rate of carbon dioxide uptake and additional rates of oxygen uptake and ammonia (or nitrite) use. Batch tests in a combined titrimetric and offgas analyzer with enriched Nitrobacter and Nitrosomonas cultures and an activated sludge sample were performed. The measured μ Amax values for the Nitrobacter and Nitrosomonas cultures were 0.67 ± 0.03 day −1 and 0.54 ± 0.09 day −1, while the Y A values were 0.072 ± 0.01 g volatile suspended solids (VSS) · g nitrogen (N) −1 and 0.14 ± 0.02 gVSS · gN −1, respectively. For the activated sludge sample, μ Amax was observed to increase with pH (μ Amax = 0.72 · 3.3 (pH-7.1)) over the range 6.8 to 7.1. All μ Amax and Y A values determined by this method were similar to those previously reported. Compared with other μ Amax and Y A estimation methods, this method allows for unique μ Amax and Y A estimations for given conditions from a single experiment.

Keywords: Nitrobacter; Nitrosomonas; activated sludge; carbon dioxide uptake; growth rate; nitrification; nitrifiers; yield

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: November 1, 2007

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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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