A wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) frequently encounters fluctuation in ammonium concentration or flow rate (Q), which may affect the stability of ammonium oxidizing bacteria (AOB). In this study, two continuous stirred tank reactors (CSTRs) were operated for 588 days and ammonium concentration was varied at various steady-state conditions. There was no inhibition observed in CSTR operation and AOB acclimated once at a certain ammonium concentration. Cells at an acclimated steady-state concentration (200 mgTAN/L from R(A) and 1000 mgTAN/L from R(B)) were extracted to perform a batch test at operating conditions, and self-inhibition behavior was observed in the batch reaction. In CSTR operation, the environmental ammonium concentration was varied and the specific oxygen uptake rate (SOUR) value was estimated from daily profile data and compared with batch reaction. In the CSTR operation as a substitute for self-inhibition, the SOUR was shifted towards the maximum specific oxygen uptake rate (SOURmax
) and no self-inhibition was observed. For further justification of the CSTR’s stability, several total ammonium nitrogen (TAN) concentrations (range from ~−106 to ~+2550 mgTAN/L) were directly added to interrupt the stability of the process. As a substitute for any effect on the SOUR, the CSTRs were recovered back to the original stable steady-state conditions without varying the operational conditions.
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