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ISSN electronic edition: 1336-9075
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Inhibition effect of free ammonia and free nitrous acid on nitrite-oxidising bacteria during sludge liquor treatment: influence of feeding strategy

Pavel Svehla, Jan Bartacek, Lukas Pacek, Helena Hrncirova, Josef Radechovsky, Ales Hanc, and Pavel Jenicek

Department of Agro-Environmental Chemistry and Plant Nutrition, Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague, Kamycka 129, Prague 6, 165 21, Czech Republic



Abstract: The importance of feeding strategy for the long-term selective inhibition of nitrite-oxidising bacteria (NOB) was demonstrated by comparison of laboratory-scale bioreactors: Completely Stirred Tank Reactor (CSTR) and Sequencing Batch Reactor (SBR). Moreover, the effect of the change of reactor operation regime from CSTR to SBR was demonstrated. Sludge liquor containing ammonia nitrogen in a range of 970–1500 mg L−1 was the influent of the reactors. The experiments were performed at (23 ± 2)°C, with high concentration of dissolved oxygen (up to 8 mg L−1) and with unlimited sludge retention time. In the SBR, permanent restriction of NOB activity was achieved for more than 700 days by the strong inhibition effect of fluctuating concentrations of free ammonia and free nitrous acid during the operational cycles of SBR. In contrast, nitrite-oxidising bacteria were able to gradually adapt to the conditions prevailing in CSTR and produce nitrate although the concentration of free ammonia and free nitrous acid significantly exceeded inhibition limits for NOB activity in this system. Transferring the reactor operation regime from CSTR to SBR resulted in immediate and permanent inhibition of NOB activity in the reactor.

Keywords: completely stirred tank reactor – free ammonia – free nitrous acid – inhibition – nitriteoxidising bacteria – sequencing batch reactor

Full paper is available at

DOI: 10.2478/s11696-014-0538-6


Chemical Papers 68 (7) 871–878 (2014)

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