Although oxygen uptake rate has been widely used in activated sludge for measuring kinetic and stoichiometric parameters or for wastewater characterization, its application in constructed wetlands (CWs) cores has been recently proposed. The aim of this research is to estimate the kinetic and stoichiometric parameters of the heterotrophic biomass in CW cores. Respirometric tests were carried out with pure carbonaceous substrate and real wastewater. Endogenous respiration was about 2 gO2 m−3 h−1 (per unit of bed volume), while the kinetic parameters obtained for COD oxidation were very high (maximum rate per unit of bed volume of 10.7–26.8 gCOD m−3 h−1) which indicates high biodegradation potential in fully aerobic environment. Regarding to stoichiometric parameter, the maximum growth yield, YH, was 0.56–0.59 mgCOD/mgCOD, while the storage yield, YSTO, was 0.75–0.77 mgCOD/mgCOD. The storage mechanism was observed in CW cores during COD oxidation, which leads to the transformation of the external soluble substrate in internal storage products, probably as response to intermittent loads applied in CW systems, transient concentrations of readily biodegradable substrate and alternance of feast/famine periods.
Keywords: constructed wetland, heterotrophic biomass, kinetic parameters, respirometry, specific growth yield, storage products