Characterization of Anaerobic Microbial Consortium Response to Thiol-Reactive Compounds

by Leah Shimko,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: World Water & Environmental Resources Congress 2003


The activity of anaerobes in wastewater treatment processes can be limited when a toxicant enters the system. For certain toxicants, along with the decrease in metabolic activity, an efflux of potassium ions from the cells can occur within minutes of the introduction of the toxicant. Some microorganisms, especially gram negative bacteria, react to what are called thiol reactive compounds by activating a mechanism of potassium efflux. If this potassium efflux can be monitored and measured, it may be used as a warning to an anaerobic system operator of an impending failure of the system. To determine the practicality of this means of system monitoring, the potassium efflux phenomenon must first be fully understood. As part of a larger study of potassium efflux phenomenon in anaerobic processes, this study investigated the toxicity of three well known thiol reactive chemicals; pentachlorophenol (PCP), n-ethylmaleimide (NEM), and 1-Chloro-2, 4-dinitrobenzene (CDNB). The objective was to determine the concentrations at which these compounds would reduce biological activity to 50 percent of that which would occur in the absence of the toxicant. During the next phase of the study, using these inhibitory concentrations as a maximum, the toxicants will be added to anaerobic systems and those systems will be observed to characterize and quantify any potassium efflux that occurs.

Subject Headings: Anaerobic processes | Toxicity | Chemical elements | Water treatment | Wastewater management | PCP | Microbes

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