Bio-reduction of N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) using a hydrogen-based membrane biofilm reactor

Jinwook Chung, Chang Hoon Ahn, Zhuo Chen, Bruce Rittmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) is a disinfection by-product shown to be carcinogenic, mutagenic, and teratogenic. A feasible detoxification pathway for NDMA is a three-step bio-reduction that leads to ammonia and dimethylamine. This study examines the bio-reduction of NDMA in a H2-based membrane biofilm reactor (MBfR) that also is active in nitrate and sulfate reductions. In particular, the study investigates the effects of H2 availability and the relative loadings of NDMA, nitrate, and sulfate, which potentially are competing electron acceptors. The results demonstrate that NDMA was bio-reduced to a major extent (i.e., at least 96%) in a H2-based MBfR in which the electron-equivalent fluxes from H2 oxidation were dominated by nitrate and sulfate reductions. NDMA reduction kinetics responded to NDMA concentration, H2 pressure, and the presence of competing acceptors. The most important factor controlling NDMA-reduction kinetics was the H2 availability, controlled primarily by the H2 pressure, and secondarily by competition from nitrate reduction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)516-520
Number of pages5
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 2008


  • Bio-reduction
  • Hydrogen
  • Membrane biofilm reactor
  • NDMA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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