Interdependent environmental factors controlling nitrification in waters

D. Kaplan, R. Wilhelm, A. Abeliovich

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


In many areas of the world limited water resources have lead to increased use of recycled water for agricultural and industrial purposes. Prior to releasing reclaimed water to consumers, excessive concentrations of inorganic nitrogenous compounds (ammonium, nitrite and nitrate) must be removed, and the water has to meet sanitary standards. The dynamics and abundance of the different nitrogenous compounds depend on the nitrification process (microbial oxidation of ammonia and nitrite). This is a key process in the nitrogen cycle and the autotrophic nitrifying bacteria catalyzing it are found in soils, sediments, wastewater, freshwater and marine water. Nitrification is a two-step process: First ammonia oxidizers convert ammonia to nitrite and then nitrite oxidizers convert nitrite to nitrate. An efficient nitrification process requires linked balanced activity of the two bacterial groups. Environmental factors that control nitrification affect ammonia and nitrite oxidizers differentially and thus disrupt the linkage between the two steps of the process. The effects of various environmental factors on the two bacterial groups and on the overall nitrification process are discussed. Light was identified to be a major factor inhibiting nitrification in a wastewater reservoir in Israel. Especially, nitrite oxidation was hindered causing the accumulation of nitrite during late spring and summer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-172
Number of pages6
JournalWater Science and Technology
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2000
EventProceedings of the 7th International Conference of the Israel Society for Ecology and Environmental Quality Sciences - Jerusalem, Isr
Duration: 13 Jun 199918 Jun 1999


  • Inhibition of nitrite oxidizers
  • Light
  • Nitrification
  • Nitrite accumulation
  • Wastewater reservoir

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology


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