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Unraveling the Source of Nitric Oxide Emission During Nitrification

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Nitric oxide production was measured during nitrification in a laboratory-scale bioreactor, operated at conditions relevant to municipal nitrifying wastewater treatment plants. This study aims to determine which type of microorganism and which metabolic pathway is responsible for nitric oxide emission during nitrification. Simulation studies were used to identify which pathway is the main source of nitric oxide emission, based on the following three hypothetical pathways for nitric oxide emission: (a) nitrification, (b) denitrification by ammonia-oxidizing bacteria with ammonium as electron donor, and (c) heterotrophic denitrification. The results of the study suggest that, in a nitrifying reactor treating wastewater containing solely ammonium and nutrients, denitrification by ammonia-oxidizing bacteria is the main nitric-oxide-producing pathway. During the experiments, 0.025% of the treated ammonium is emitted as nitric oxide, independent of the aeration rate imposed. Nitrite presence and oxygen limitation were found to increase the nitric oxide emission.
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Keywords: ammonia oxidation; ammonia-oxidizing bacteria; emission; kinetic model; nitric oxide; nitrification; nitrifier denitrification

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 December 2007

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  • Water Environment Research (WER) is published monthly, including an annual Literature Review. A subscription to WER includes access to the latest content back to 1992, as well as access to fast track articles. An individual subscription is valid for 12 months from month of purchase.

    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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