Kinetics of nitrate and perchlorate reduction in ion-exchange brine using the membrane biofilm reactor (MBfR)

Steven W. Van Ginkel, Chang Hoon Ahn, Mohammad Badruzzaman, Deborah J. Roberts, S. Geno Lehman, Samer S. Adham, Bruce Rittmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


Several sources of bacterial inocula were tested for their ability to reduce nitrate and perchlorate in synthetic ion-exchange spent brine (30-45 g/L) using a hydrogen-based membrane biofilm reactor (MBfR). Nitrate and perchlorate removal fluxes reached as high as 5.4 g N m-2 d-1 and 5.0 g ClO4 m-2 d-1, respectively, and these values are similar to values obtained with freshwater MBfRs. Nitrate and perchlorate removal fluxes decreased with increasing salinity. The nitrate fluxes were roughly first order in H2 pressure, but roughly zero-order with nitrate concentration. Perchlorate reduction rates were higher with lower nitrate loadings, compared to high nitrate loadings; this is a sign of competition for H2. Nitrate and perchlorate reduction rates depended strongly on the inoculum. An inoculum that was well acclimated (years) to nitrate and perchlorate gave markedly faster removal kinetics than cultures that were acclimated for only a few months. These results underscore that the most successful MBfR bioreduction of nitrate and perchlorate in ion-exchange brine demands a well-acclimated inoculum and sufficient hydrogen availability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4197-4205
Number of pages9
JournalWater Research
Issue number15
StatePublished - Sep 2008


  • H-based membrane biofilm reactor (MBfR)
  • Ion-exchange brine
  • Nitrate
  • Perchlorate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Ecological Modeling
  • Pollution
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Civil and Structural Engineering


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