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Bioavailability of Dissolved Organic Nitrogen in Treated Effluents

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The research objective was to assess dissolved organic nitrogen (DON) bioavailability in wastewater effluents from a pilot-scale nitrification plant and a laboratory-scale total nitrogen (TN) removal plant. The DON bioavailability was assessed using a 14-day bioassay protocol containing bacterial and algal inocula. Nitrogen species, dissolved organic carbon, chlorophyll a, and biomass (as total suspended solids and culturable cell counts) concentrations were measured to assess DON bioavailability. The results showed an increase in algal chlorophyll a concentration, with a concurrent increase in algal biomass over time; increased bacterial counts and a decrease in DON concentration over time; and increased carbon-to-nitrogen ratio at the end of the 14-day bioassay, indicating effluent DON bioavailability to algae and bacteria. Approximately 18 to 61% of the initial DON in low-total-nitrogen wastewater effluent (TN = 4 to 5 mg/L) sample was bioavailable. The results show that bacteria and algae uptake and release DON during their growth.

Keywords: algae; bacteria; bioavailability; dissolved organic nitrogen

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: May 1, 2008

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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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