, 20:155 | Cite as

Effect of continuous Cd feeding on the performance of a nitrification reactor

  • Neslihan Semerci
  • Ferhan Çeçen
Original Paper


The inhibitory effect of Cd on nitrification was investigated in a continuous-flow system with enriched nitrifying bacteria. The maximum specific ammonium utilization rate and the half-saturation constant were found as 671 mg NH4–N/g VSS day and 0.48 mg/l, respectively. In the case of continuous Cd input at 1 and 2.5 mg/l, nitrification was inhibited by 30% and 47%, respectively. Inhibition ranged from 20% to 40% and no further increase in inhibition was exhibited in new runs except at 10 mg/l influent Cd. At 10 mg/l influent Cd, specific ammonium utilization and nitrate production rates were inhibited by 90%. On the contrary, a serious nitrite accumulation was not observed during this period. When Cd feeding was stopped, recovery from inhibition was observed after 37 day which was seen by the improvement in ammonium utilization and nitrate production rates. A shift in microbial population from the initial Nitrosomonas sp. to the Cd-tolerant Nitrosospira sp. was observed in the recovery period from severe Cd inhibition. After the domination of Nitrosospira species, redosing at 10 mg/l and then at 15 mg/l did not affect the performance as before.


Cadmium Inhibition Nitrification Activated sludge Nitrosospira 



Biosorbed Cd, mg Cd/g MLSS


Labile Cd concentration in bulk solution, measured by voltammetry (Cd2+ and Cd in weak complexes), mg/l


Inhibition coefficient, mg/l

\( K_{{{\text{S}},{\text{NH}}_{4} \hbox{-} {\text{N}}}} \)

Half-saturation constant for ammonium, mg/l


Specific ammonium utilization rate, mg NH4–N/g VSS day


Specific nitrate production rate, mg NO3–N/g VSS day

\( q_{{\max ,{\text{NH}}_{4} - {\text{N}}}} \)

Maximum specific ammonium utilization rate, mg NH4–N/g VSS day

\( q_{{\max ,{\text{NO}}_{3} \hbox{-} {\text{N}}}} \)

Maximum specific nitrate production rate, mg NO3–N/g VSS day

\( q_{{\max ,{\text{NH}}_{4} \hbox{-} {\text{N,app}}}} \)

Apparent maximum specific ammonium utilization rate, mg NH4–N/g VSS day


NH4–N in bulk solution, mg/l



The financial support of this study by the Research Fund of Boğaziçi University (Project No: B.A.P. 03S103), TUBITAK (Project No: ICTAG Ç067, Project No: Ç106) is gratefully acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Environmental EngineeringMarmara UniversityIstanbulTurkey
  2. 2.Institute of Environmental SciencesBogazici UniversityIstanbulTurkey

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