Effect of nitrobenzene on the performance and bacterial community in an expanded granular sludge bed reactor treating high-sulfate organic wastewater

  • Jun Li
  • Wentao Li
  • Gan Luo
  • Yan LiEmail author
  • Aimin Li
Research Article


Nitrobenzene (NB) is frequently found in wastewaters containing sulfate and may affect biological sulfate reduction process, but information is limited on the responses of sulfate reduction efficiency and microbial community to the increased NB contents. In this study, a laboratory-scale expanded granular sludge bed reactor was operated continuously to treat high-sulfate organic wastewater with increased NB contents. Results successfully demonstrated that the presence of more than 50 mg/L NB depressed sulfate reduction and such inhibition was partly reversible. Bath experiments showed that the maximum specific desulfuration activity (SDA) decreased from 135.80 mg SO 4 2‒ /gVSS/d to 30.78 mg SO 4 2‒ /gVSS/d when the NB contents increased from none to 400 mg/L. High-throughput sequencing showed that NB also greatly affected bacterial community structure. Bacteroidetes dominated in the bioreactor. The abundance of Proteobacteria increased with NB addition while Firmicutes presented an opposite trend. Proteobacteria gradually replaced Firmicutes for the dominance in response to the increase of influent NB concentrations. The genus Desulfovibrio was the dominant sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB) with absence or presence of NB, but was inhibited under high content of NB. The results provided better understanding for the biological sulfate reduction under NB stress.


Nitrobenzene (NB) Sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB) Bacterial community Sulfate reduction High-throughput sequencing 



We gratefully acknowledge generous support provided by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 51378251 and 51408298) and National Key R&D Program of China (No. 2016YFE0112300).

Supplementary material

11783_2019_1090_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (202 kb)
Supplementary Material


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Copyright information

© Higher Education Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jun Li
    • 1
    • 2
  • Wentao Li
    • 1
  • Gan Luo
    • 1
  • Yan Li
    • 1
    Email author
  • Aimin Li
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Pollution Control and Resources Reuse, School of the EnvironmentNanjing UniversityNanjingChina
  2. 2.Nanjing University & Yancheng Academy of Environmental Protection Technology and EngineeringYanchengChina

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