Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 85, Issue 6, pp 2017–2030 | Cite as

Nitrification in fixed-bed reactors treating saline wastewater

  • Utomo Sudarno
  • Stephan Bathe
  • Josef Winter
  • Claudia Gallert
Environmental Biotechnology


Halophilic nitrifiers belonging to the genus Nitrosomonas and Nitrospira were enriched from seawater and marine sediment samples of the North Sea. The maximal ammonia oxidation rate (AOR) in batch enrichments with seawater was 15.1 mg N L−1 day−1. An intermediate nitrite accumulation was observed. Two fixed-bed reactors for continuous nitrification with either polyethylene/clay sinter lamellas (FBR A) or porous ceramic rings (FBR B) were run at two different ammonia concentrations, three different ammonia loading rates (ALRs), ± pH adjustment, and at an increased upflow velocity. A better overall nitrification without nitrite accumulation was observed in FBR B. However, FBR A revealed a higher AOR and nitrite oxidation rate of 6 and 7 mg N L−1 h−1, compared to FBR B with 5 and 5.9 mg N L−1 h−1, respectively. AORs in the FBRs were at least ten times higher than in suspended enrichment cultures. Whereas a shift within the ammonia-oxidizing population in the genus Nitrosomonas at the subspecies level occurred in FBR B with synthetic seawater at an increasing ALR and a decreasing pH, the nitrite oxidizing Nitrospira population apparently did not change.


Halophilic nitrification Saline wastewater Nitrosomonas Nitrospira Fixed-bed reactors 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Utomo Sudarno
    • 1
    • 2
  • Stephan Bathe
    • 1
  • Josef Winter
    • 1
  • Claudia Gallert
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Biology for Engineers and Biotechnology of WastewaterUniversity of KarlsruheKarlsruheGermany
  2. 2.Department of Environmental EngineeringUniversity of Diponegoro (UNDIP)SemarangIndonesia

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