Distribution of Nitrosomonas europaea and Nitrobacter winogradskyi in an autotrophic nitrifying biofilm reactor as depicted by molecular analyses and mathematical modelling

Anna Montras, Benny Pycke, Nico Boon, Francesc Godia, Max Mergeay, Larissa Hendrickx, Julio Pérez

    Research outputpeer-review


    The autotrophic two-species biofilm from the packed bed reactor of a life-support system, containing Nitrosomonas europaea ATCC 19718 and Nitrobacter winogradskyi ATCC 25391, was analysed after 4.8 years of continuous operation performing complete nitrification. Realtime quantitative polymerase chain reaction (Q-PCR) was used to quantify N. europaea and N. winogradskyi along the vertical axis of the reactor, revealing a spatial segregation of N. europaea and N. winogradskyi. The main parameters influencing the spatial segregation of both nitrifiers along the bed were assessed through a multi-species one-dimensional biofilm model generated with AQUASIM software. The factor that contributed the most to this distribution profile was a small deviation from the flow pattern of a perfectly mixed tank towards plug-flow. The results indicate that the model can estimate the impact of specific biofilm parameters and predict the nitrification efficiency and population dynamics of a multispecies biofilm
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1700-1714
    JournalWater Research
    Issue number6-7
    StatePublished - Mar 2008

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