Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 99, Issue 1, pp 77–87 | Cite as

Kinetic and stoichiometric characterization of anoxic sulfide oxidation by SO-NR mixed cultures from anoxic biotrickling filters

  • Mabel Mora
  • Maikel Fernández
  • José Manuel Gómez
  • Domingo Cantero
  • Javier Lafuente
  • Xavier Gamisans
  • David Gabriel
Environmental biotechnology


Monitoring the biological activity in biotrickling filters is difficult since it implies estimating biomass concentration and its growth yield, which can hardly be measured in immobilized biomass systems. In this study, the characterization of a sulfide-oxidizing nitrate-reducing biomass obtained from an anoxic biotrickling filter was performed through the application of respirometric and titrimetric techniques. Previously, the biomass was maintained in a continuous stirred tank reactor under steady-state conditions resulting in a growth yield of 0.328 ± 0.045 g VSS/g S. To properly assess biological activity in respirometric tests, abiotic assays were conducted to characterize the stripping of CO2 and sulfide. The global mass transfer coefficient for both processes was estimated. Subsequently, different respirometric tests were performed: (1) to solve the stoichiometry related to the autotrophic denitrification of sulfide using either nitrate or nitrite as electron acceptors, (2) to evaluate the inhibition caused by nitrite and sulfide on sulfide oxidation, and (3) to propose, calibrate, and validate a kinetic model considering both electron acceptors in the overall anoxic biodesulfurization process. The kinetic model considered a Haldane-type equation to describe sulfide and nitrite inhibitions, a non-competitive inhibition to reflect the effect of sulfide on the elemental sulfur oxidation besides single-step denitrification since no nitrite was produced during the biological assays.


Hydrogen sulfide Biotrickling filter SO-NR culture Kinetics and stoichiometry Respirometry Titrimetry 



The Spanish government provided financial support through the CICYT project CTM2009-14338-C03 and CTM2012-37927-C03. The Department of Chemical Engineering at UAB (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona) is a unit of Biochemical Engineering of the Xarxa de Referència en Biotecnologia de Catalunya (XRB), Generalitat de Catalunya. The authors are grateful to Martin Ramirez, Antonio Valle, and Fernando Almengló for their great contribution to this work.

Supplementary material

253_2014_5688_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (46 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 46 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mabel Mora
    • 1
  • Maikel Fernández
    • 2
  • José Manuel Gómez
    • 2
  • Domingo Cantero
    • 2
  • Javier Lafuente
    • 1
  • Xavier Gamisans
    • 3
  • David Gabriel
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Chemical Engineering, School of EngineeringUniversitat Autònoma de BarcelonaBellaterraSpain
  2. 2.Department of Chemical Engineering and Food Technologies, Faculty of SciencesUniversity of CádizPuerto RealSpain
  3. 3.Department of Mining Engineering and Natural ResourcesUniversitat Politècnica de CatalunyaManresaSpain

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