Process performance and bacterial community dynamics of partial-nitritation biofilters subjected to different concentrations of cysteine amino acid

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


  • Alejandro Rodriguez-Sanchez
  • Barbara Munoz-Palazon
  • Paula Maza-Marquez
  • Jesus Gonzalez-Lopez
  • Riku Vahala

  • Alejandro Gonzalez-Martinez

Research units

  • University of Granada


Partial-nitritation processes are used for the biological treatment of high nitrogen-low organic carbon effluents, such as anaerobic digestion reject water. The release of certain products generated during the anaerobic digestion process, such as amino acids, could potentially reduce the performance of these partial-nitritation bioprocesses. To investigate this, four partial-nitritation biofilters were subjected to continuous addition of 0, 150, 300, and 500 mg L-1 cysteine amino acid in their influents. The addition of the amino acid had an impact over the performance of the partial-nitritation process and the bacterial community dynamics of the systems analyzed. Ammonium oxidation efficiency decreased with the addition of the amino acid, and a net nitrogen elimination occurred in presence of cysteine through the operation period. Bacterial community dynamics showed a decrease of Nitrosomonas species and a proliferation of putative heterotrophs with nitrification capacity, such as Pseudomonas, or denitrification capacity, such as Denitrobacter or Alicycliphilus. The addition of cysteine irreversible affected the bioreactors, which could not achieve the performance obtained before the addition of the amino acid. A mathematical predictive equation of the process performance depending on cysteine concentration added and operational time under such concentration was developed.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1254-1263
JournalBiotechnology Progress
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2016
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

    Research areas

  • Amino acid, Biotechnology, Cysteine, Partial-nitritation, Wastewater treatment

ID: 8885303