The work describes a biofilm-based soluble sulphate reduction system, which can treat up to 1600 ppm of soluble sulphate within 3.5 hours of incubation to discharge level under ambient condition using a well-characterized sulphate-reducing bacterial (SRB) consortium. This system ensures the treatment of 1509 litres of sulphate solution in 24 hours using a 220-litre bioreactor. Performance of the system during series operation was compromised, indicating the presence of inhibitor in solution at a toxic level. A single unit bioreactor would be the ideal configuration for this consortium. Modified designs of bioreactors were tested for optimization of the process using response surface methodology (RSM), where the system could function optimally at an initial sulphate concentration of 1250 ppm with a flow rate of 1.8 litre/hour. The time course of sulphate reduction yielded a parabolic profile (with coefficient of determination r 2 = 0.99 and p value < 0.05). The rate of sulphate reduction was found to be independent of seasonal variation as well as the specific design characteristic.
Part of the book: Nuclear Material Performance
A packed bed bioreactor efficiently treated low-level radioactive waste for years with a retention time of 24 h using acetate as the sole carbon source. However, there was generation of dead biomass. This bioreactor biomass was used to develop a bacterial consortium, which could perform the function within 4 h while simultaneously accumulating nitrate and phosphate. The dead mass was negligible. Serial dilution technique was used to isolate the world’s first pure culture of a nitrate accumulating strain from this consortium. This isolate could simultaneously accumulate nitrate and phosphate from solution. Its ability to form biofilm helped develop a packed bed bioreactor system for waste water treatment, which could optimally remove 94.46% nitrate within 11 h in batch mode while 8 h in continuous mode from waste water starting from 275 ppm of nitrate. The conventional approach revealed the strain to be a member of genus Bacillus but showed distinct differences with the type strains. Further insilico analysis of the draft genome and the putative protein sequences using the bioinformatics tools revealed the strain to be a novel variant of genus Bacillus. The sequestered nitrate and phosphate within the cell were visualized through electron microscopy and explained the reason behind the ability of the isolate to accumulate 1.12 mg of phosphate and 1.3 gm of nitrate per gram of wet weight. Transcriptome analysis proposed the mechanism behind the accumulation of nitrate and phosphate in case of this novel bacterial isolate (MCC 0008). The strain with the sequestered nutrients work as biofertilizer for yield enhancement in case of mung bean while maintaining soil fertility post-cultivation.
Part of the book: Management of Hazardous Wastes
The rapid industrialization and urbanization of developing countries such as India have encroached on cultivable lands to meet the demands of an ever-increasing population. The altered land use patterns with increased fertilizer use has increased crop yields with leaching of major portion of the applied nutrients from the soil. Nitrates and phosphates are the agricultural pollutants that are discharged into aquifers due to anthropogenic reasons causing severe environmental and health problems. Production of these nutrients requires energy and finite resources (rock phosphate, which has gradually depleting reserves). An alternative management strategy would be to sequester excess nutrients within a biomass that is reused for agriculture. Two discrete enriched microbial consortia with the potential of simultaneous nitrate and phosphate sequestration upon application as biofertilizer restricted them within the plant root zone, ensuring prevention of eutrophication through leaching while making it available for uptake by plants. The nutrient accumulated biomass enhanced the crop yield by 21.88% during mung bean cultivation with maintained elemental content and other nutritional qualities. The major drawback of conventional biofertilizer application (slow release and action) could be overcome using this formulation leading to environmental protection, crop yield enhancement and soil fertility maintenance post-cultivation.
Part of the book: Biological Wastewater Treatment and Resource Recovery