Evaluation of salinity toxicity in biological nitrification effluent using the respirometry technique

Alyne Moraes Costa, Juacyara Carbonelli Campos


Biological nitrification in a saline medium was investigated in a continuous system of a synthetic effluent containing 152.44 mg L-1 of total ammonia nitrogen. Tests were performed with the addition of increasing concentrations of salt (100, 250, 500, 1,000, 2,000, 4,000, 8,000, 10,000 and 15,000 mg Cl- L-1) in a 5.7 L laboratory bioreactor. The objective of the study was to evaluate respirometry technique responses in order to identify toxicity in nitrifying biomass with varying salt concentrations. During the experiment, the bioreactor was operated with a hydraulic retention time of 48 h, and DO, pH and temperature maintained at 4.0-5.0 mg L-1, 7.5 and 25°-30°C, respectively. The respirometric assays were performed in triplicate, using a dissolved oxygen probe. The results of respirometry found that both oxygen uptake rates (OUR) and specific oxygen consumption (SOUR) increased up to a concentration of 1,000 mg Cl- L-1, when the nitrification efficiency maximum of 65.18% was obtained after approximately 90 days of system operation. However, a gradual increase to 2,000 mg Cl- L-1 resulted in a decrease in oxygen consumption values, reducing the metabolic activity of the biomass, as verified by a reduction in nitrification efficiency values. The results show that the respirometry technique is an effective and reliable tool for assessing the toxicity of activated sludge, and that it is able to detect a decrease in cellular activity in the presence of inhibitors, such as high concentrations of salinity.


saline wastewater; sludge activated; toxic effect

Revista Ambiente & Água. ISSN:1980-993X DOI:10.4136/1980-993X

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