Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 27, Issue 2, pp 199–205 | Cite as

Denitrification with methanol in the presence of high salt concentrations and at high pH levels

  • Jan Peter van der Hoek
  • Paul J. M. Latour
  • Abraham Klapwijk
Environmental Microbiology


In the combined ion exchange/biological denitrification process for nitrate removal from ground water, in which nitrate is removed by ion exchange, the resins are regenerated in a closed circuit by a biological denitrification reactor. This denitrification reactor eliminates nitrate from the regenerant. Methanol is used as electron donor for biological denitrification. To obtain sufficient regeneration of the resins within a reasonable time, high NaCl or NaHCO3 concentrations (10–30 g/l) in the regenerant are necessary. High NaHCO3 concentrations affected the biological denitrification in three ways: a) a slight decrease in denitrification capacity (30%) was observed; b) the yield coefficient and CH3OH/NO3-−N ratio decreased. When high NaHCO3 concentrations (above 10g NaHCO3/l) were used, the yield coefficient was 0.10–0.13 g VSS/g NO3-−N and the CH3OH/NO3-−N ratio was 2.00–2.03 g/g; c) high NaHCO3 concentrations influenced nitrite production. Nitrite is an intermediate product of biological denitrification and with rising NaHCO3 concentrations nitrite accumulation was suppressed. This was explained by the effect of high NaHCO3 concentrations on the pH in the microenvironment of the denitrifying organisms. High NaCl concentrations also resulted in a slight decrease in denitrification capacity, but the second and third effects were not observed in the presence of high NaCl concentrations.

Although the pH in the regenerant will rise as a result of biological denitrification, the capacity of a denitrification reactor did not decrease significantly when a pH of 8.8–9.2 was reached.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jan Peter van der Hoek
    • 1
  • Paul J. M. Latour
    • 1
  • Abraham Klapwijk
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Water Pollution ControlWageningen Agricultural UniversityWageningenThe Netherlands

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