Effects of ultrasonic treatment on the ammonia-oxidizing bacterial (AOB) growth kinetics

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Science of the Total Environment, 2019, 690 pp. 629 - 635
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© 2019 Elsevier B.V. Ultrasound has in the past few decades found applications in a variety of disciplines including chemistry, medicine, physics, and to a much less extent microbiology. Our previous studies found that ultrasonic treatment increases the activity of ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB) while suppressing nitrite-oxidizing bacteria (NOB), resulting in beneficial effects in wastewater treatment. In this study, the kinetic and microbiological features of nitrifying microorganisms in activated sludge intermittently treated with ultrasound were investigated to gain an improved understanding of the mechanism involved in ultrasound-induced stimulation of AOB kinetics. The nitrifying microorganisms were initially enriched over 100 days in a laboratory sequential batch reactor (SBR). Ultrasonic treatment of the sludge was then applied with the treatment time in each 12 h SBR cycle progressively increased from 4 to 24 min. Application of the treatment for 21 days led to a doubled maximum specific ammonia oxidation rate, and also the enhanced dominance of known AOB Nitrosomonas genus in the biomass. This stimulatory effect is well described by a modified enzyme catalyzed reaction model, showing a good linear relationship between the natural logarithm value of μmax,AOB and the applied ultrasonic energy density. This result suggests that ultrasonic treatment likely reduced the activation energy of key enzymes involved in ammonium oxidation.
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