Journal article Open Access
Cyanides (CN−) and soluble salts could potentially inhibit biological processes in wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs), such as nitrification and denitrification. Cyanide in wastewater can alter metabolic functions of microbial populations in WWTPs, thus significantly inhibiting nitrifier and denitrifier metabolic processes, rendering the water treatment processes ineffective. In this study, bacterial isolates that are tolerant to high salinity conditions, which are capable of nitrification and aerobic denitrification under cyanogenic conditions, were isolated from a poultry slaughterhouse effluent. Three of the bacterial isolates were found to be able to oxidise NH4-N in the presence of 65.91 mg/L of free cyanide (CN−) under saline conditions, i.e. 4.5% (w/v) NaCl. The isolates I, H and G, were identified as Enterobacter sp., Yersinia sp. and Serratia sp., respectively. Results showed that 81% (I), 71% (G) and 75% (H) of 400 mg/L NH4-N was biodegraded (nitrification) within 72 h, with the rates of biodegradation being suitably described by first order reactions, with rate constants being: 4.19 h−1 (I), 4.21 h−1 (H) and 3.79 h−1 (G), respectively, with correlation coefficients ranging between 0.82 and 0.89. Chemical oxygen demand (COD) removal rates were 38% (I), 42% (H) and 48% (G), over a period of 168 h with COD reduction being highest at near neutral pH.