Adaptation of Sulfate-Reducing Bacteria to Sulfide Exposure

Tessa P H Van Den Brand*, Kees Roest, Guang Hao Chen, Damir Brdjanovic, Mark C M Van Loosdrecht

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB) can beneficially be applied to domestic wastewater treatment. In general, formed sulfide will stay in liquid phase, resulting in an elevated sulfide content, which might have inhibiting effects on the SRB. To study effects of environmental conditions on the SRB resistance against sulfide, two sequencing batch reactors fed with artificial domestic wastewater were operated at sulfate-reducing conditions. Required sulfide concentration within the reactor was achieved by adding 400 or 800 mg COD/L (acetate and propionate), the latter resulting in proportionally more sulfide production. Batch tests revealed that sulfide inhibited the rate of sulfate reduction by 50% at a concentration of 200 mg/L sulfide for biomass from the reactor fed with 400 mg COD/L. After adaptation to a feed of 800 mg COD/L, resulting in higher sulfide exposures, sulfide was less inhibitive to SRB. Complete COD removal was achieved in the reactor fed with 800 mg COD/L, and the SRB population changed from one (Desulfotalea arctica) to two (Desulfobacter postgatei and Desulfocapsa sulfexigens) dominant species. Results indicate that SRB are capable of adapting to higher sulfide exposure. Therefore, the SRB can also be applied to treat wastewater with higher COD levels, blackwater for instance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)242-249
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Engineering Science (Print)
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2016


  • COD
  • Inhibition
  • Microbial analyses
  • Sulfate-reducing bacteria
  • Sulfide
  • Wastewater treatment


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