Sulfide-oxidizing autotrophic denitrification is an advantageous alternative over heterotrophic denitrification, and may have potential for nitrogen removal of low-strength wastewaters, such as anaerobically pre-treated domestic sewage. This study evaluated the fundamentals and kinetics of this process in batch reactors containing suspended and immobilized cells. Batch tests were performed for different NOx−/S2− ratios and using nitrate and nitrite as electron acceptors. Autotrophic denitrification was observed for both electron acceptors, and NOx−/S2− ratios defined whether sulfide oxidation was complete or not. Kinetic parameter values obtained for nitrate were higher than for nitrite as electron acceptor. Zero-order models were better adjusted to profiles obtained for suspended cell reactors, whereas first-order models were more adequate for immobilized cell reactors. However, in the latter, mass transfer physical phenomena had a significant effect on kinetics based on biochemical reactions. Results showed that sulfide-oxidizing autotrophic denitrification can be successfully established for low-strength wastewaters and have potential for nitrogen removal from anaerobically pre-treated domestic sewage.
Keywords: autotrophic denitrification, electron donor, immobilized cells, kinetics, sulfide, suspended cells