The effects of nitrate (NO3 ) on chromate (Cr(VI)) reduction in a membrane biofilm reactor (MBfR) were studied when CH4 was the sole electron donor supplied with a non-limiting delivery capacity. A high surface loading of NO3 gave significant and irreversible inhibition of Cr(VI) reduction. At a surface loading of 500 mg Cr/m2-d, the Cr(VI)-removal percentage was 100% when NO3 was absent (Stage 1), but was dramatically lowered to < 25% with introduction of 280 mg N m−2-d NO3 (Stage 2). After ∼50 days operation in Stage 2, the Cr(VI) reduction recovered to only ∼70% in Stage 3, when NO3 was removed from the influent; thus, NO3 had a significant long-term inhibition effect on Cr(VI) reduction. Weighted PCoA and UniFrac analyses proved that the introduction of NO3 had a strong impact on the microbial community in the biofilms, and the changes possibly were linked to the irreversible inhibition of Cr(VI) reduction. For example, Meiothermus, the main genus involved in Cr(VI) reduction at first, declined with introduction of NO3 . The denitrifier Chitinophagaceae was enriched after the addition of NO3 , while Pelomonas became important when nitrate was removed, suggesting its potential role as a Cr(VI) reducer. Moreover, introducing NO3 led to a decrease in the number of genes predicted (by PICRUSt) to be related to chromate reduction, but genes predicted to be related to denitrification, methane oxidation, and fermentation increased.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)130-137
Number of pages8
JournalWater Research
StatePublished - 2017


  • Chromate reduction
  • Membrane biofilm reactor
  • Methane
  • Microorganism
  • Nitrate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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