Importance of thermodynamics dependent kinetic parameters in nitrate-based souring mitigation studies

Moein Jahanbani Veshareh*, Jan Dolfing, Hamidreza M. Nick

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
24 Downloads (Pure)


Souring is the unwanted formation of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) by sulfate-reducing microorganisms (SRM) in sewer systems and seawater flooded oil reservoirs. Nitrate treatment (NT) is one of the major methods to alleviate souring: The mechanism of souring remediation by NT is stimulation of nitrate reducing microorganisms (NRM) that depending on the nitrate reduction pathway can outcompete SRM for common electron donors, or oxidize sulfide to sulfate. However, some nitrate reduction pathways may challenge the efficacy of NT. Therefore, a precise understanding of souring rate, nitrate reduction rate and pathways is crucial for efficient souring management. Here, we investigate the necessity of incorporating two thermodynamic dependent kinetic parameters, namely, the growth yield (Y), and FT, a parameter related to the minimum catabolic energy production required by cells to utilize a given catabolic reaction. We first show that depending on physiochemical conditions, Y and FT for SRM change significantly in the range of [0-0.4] mole biomass per mole electron donor and [0.0006-0.5], respectively, suggesting that these parameters should not be considered constant and that it is important to couple souring models with thermodynamic models. Then, we highlight this further by showing an experimental dataset that can be modeled very well by considering variable FT. Next, we show that nitrate based lithotrophic sulfide oxidation to sulfate (lNRM3) is the dominant nitrate reduction pathway. Then, arguing that thermodynamics would suggest that S° consumption should proceed faster than S0 production, we infer that the reason for frequently observed S0 accumulation is its low solubility. Last, we suggest that nitrate based souring treatment will suffer less from S0 accumulation if we (i) act early, (ii) increase temperature and (iii) supplement stoichiometrically sufficient nitrate.

Original languageEnglish
Article number117673
Number of pages10
JournalWater Research
Early online date21 Sept 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2021


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