Fundamental denitrification kinetic studies with Pseudomonas denitrificans

J. ‐H Wang, B. C. Baltzis, G. A. Lewandowski

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Fundamental kinetic studies on the reduction of nitrate, nitrite, and their mixtures were performed with a strain of Pseudomonas denitrificans (ATCC 13867). Methanol served as the carbon source and was supplied in excess (2:1 mole ratio relative to nitrate and/or nitrite). Nitrate and nitrite served as terminal electron acceptors as well as sources of nitrogen for biomass synthesis. The results were explained under the assumption that respiration is a growth‐associated process. It was found that the sequence of complete reduction of nitrate to nitrogen gas is via nitrite and nitrous oxide. It was found that the specific growth rate of the biomass on either nitrate or nitrite follows Andrews inhibitory kinetics and nitrite is more inhibitory than nitrate. It was also found that the culture has severe maintenance requirements which can be described by Herbert's model, i.e., by self‐oxidation of portions of the biomass. The specific maintenance rates at 30°C and pH 7.1 were found to be equal to about 28% of the maximum specific growth rate on nitrate and 23% of the maximum specific growth rate on nitrite. Nitrate and nitrite were found to be involved in a cross‐inhibitory noncompetitive kinetic interaction. The extent of this interaction is negligible when the presence of nitrite is low but is considerable when nitrite is present at levels above 15 mg/L. Studies on the effect of temperature have shown that the culture cannot grow at temperatures above 40°C. The optimal temperature for nitrate or nitrite reduction was found to be about 38°C. Using an Arrhenius expression to describe the effect of temperature on the specific growth rates, it was found that the activation energy for the use of nitrate by the culture is 8.6 kcal/mol and 7.21 kcal/mol for nitrite. Arrhenius‐type expressions were also used in describing the effect of temperature on each of the parameters appearing in the specific growth rate expressions. Studies on the effect of pH at 30°C have shown that the culture reduces nitrate optimally at a pH between 7.4 and 7.6, and nitrite at a pH between 7.2 and 7.3. © 1995 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)26-41
Number of pages16
JournalBiotechnology and Bioengineering
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 5 1995

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


  • T effects
  • denitrification
  • kinetics
  • nitrate
  • nitrite
  • pH effects


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