The effects of salinity on coupled nitrification and aerobic denitrification in an estuarine system

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Salinity has significant effects on nitrification and denitrification processes, particularly in estuarine systems. A dissolved oxygen-enriched river and its estuary in northern China were selected to investigate the impact of salinity gradients (0.6, 4, 7.6, 11.4 and 14.7‰) obtained from the mixing of river samples and estuarine samples with different proportions on coupled nitrification and aerobic denitrification via incubation experiments (35 and 10 °C). Results indicated that: (a) nitrification and coupled nitrification-aerobic denitrification occurred for all treatments, which resulted in NO3 being either accumulated or removed at the end of the incubation; (b) a suitable range of salinity is 4.0–11.4‰ for nitrification and 4.0–7.6‰ for coupled nitrification-aerobic denitrification; and (c) the relatively higher temperature (35 °C) can effectively stimulate N transformation processes compared to the lower temperature (10 °C) in the incubation experiment.

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