Kinetics of carbon and nitrogen assimilation by heterotrophic microorganisms during wastewater treatment

Sanak Ray, Miklas Scholz, A. K. Haritash

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


The present study highlights microbial assimilation of carbon (glucose) and nitrogen (NH3–N) from wastewater using heterotrophic bioconversion process. Experiments were conducted to study the role of heterotrophic microbes towards removal of carbon and nitrogen at varying initial concentrations of carbon (COD, 533 to 1600 mg/l) and nitrogen (NH3–N, 73 to 249 mg/l) keeping the initial biomass of microorganisms constant. Removal of COD and ammonia from wastewater represented a first-order rate reaction, upon analysis of kinetics, indicating that the rate of reaction is dependent on the initial concentration of nutrients available. Rate equations were developed using the Monod model, and the maximum specific consumption rate (k4) and half saturation constant (Ks) values for NH3–N and COD were found to be 2.59 mg/l/h and 64.13 mg/l/h and 38.46 mg/l and 2162.69 mg/l, respectively. Assimilation of NH3–N followed the Freundlich isotherm model. The mass transfer coefficient for COD and NH3–N were found to be 0.13 h−1 and 0.81 h−1 respectively. The NH3–N is converted to N2O during nitrification, and observed values of N2O coincided with the empirically predicted values indicating the activity of heterotrophic nitrifiers. The regeneration/doubling time of heterotrophic microbial biomass varied from 26 to 121 h. Statistical techniques, viz. analysis of variance, multi-linear regression analysis and principal component analysis, validated the results.

Original languageEnglish
Article number451
JournalEnvironmental Monitoring and Assessment
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Ammonia
  • Biological waste treatment
  • COD
  • Freundlich isotherm
  • Multivariate analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • Pollution
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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