Enrichment of a K-strategist microbial population able to biodegrade p-nitrophenol in a sequencing batch reactor

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    41 Citations (Scopus)


    The biological treatment of a high-strength p-nitrophenol (PNP) wastewater in an aerobic Sequencing Batch Reactor (SBR) has been studied. A specific operational strategy was applied with the main aim of developing a K-strategist PNP-degrading activated sludge. The enrichment of a K-strategist microbial population was performed using a non-acclimated biomass coming from a municipal WWTP as inoculum, and following a feeding strategy in which the PNP-degrading biomass was under endogenous conditions during more than 50% of the aerobic reaction phase. Hundred per cent of PNP removal was achieved in the whole operating period with a maximum specific PNP loading rate of 0.26 g PNP g-1 VSS d-1. A kinetic characterization of the obtained PNP-degrading population was carried out using respirometry assays in specifically designed batch tests. With the experimental data obtained a kinetic model including substrate inhibition has been used to describe the time-course of the PNP concentration and specific oxygen uptake rate (SOUR), simultaneously. The kinetic parameters obtained through optimization, validated with an additional respirometric test, were kmax = 1.02 mg PNP mg-1 COD d-1, Ks = 1.6 mg PNP L-1 and Ki = 54 mg PNP L-1. The values obtained for the Ks and kmax are lower than those reported in the literature for mixed populations, meaning that the biomass is a K-strategist type, and therefore demonstrating the success of the operational strategy imposed to obtain such a K-strategist population. Moreover, our measured Ki value is higher than those reported by most of the bibliographic references; therefore the acclimated activated sludge used in this work was evidently more adapted to PNP inhibition than the other reported cultures. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)3871-3883
    JournalWater Research
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2009


    • Biological treatment
    • Haldane kinetics
    • K-strategist
    • Modelling
    • Oxygen uptake rate
    • p-Nitrophenol


    Dive into the research topics of 'Enrichment of a K-strategist microbial population able to biodegrade p-nitrophenol in a sequencing batch reactor'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this